cover image First Pink Light

First Pink Light

Eloise Greenfield. Writers & Readers Publishing, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-86316-207-7

The creators of Nathaniel Talking and Night on Neighborhood Street again pool their considerable talents for a sympathetic and accessible tale. Like a one-act play, the story's scope is small: a boy talks his mother into letting him wait up for his father's return. The focus here is not on just the events, however, but also on the emotions involved--Tyree's elation with the cardboard fort he hides in while his mother does her homework, his sweetly transparent manipulations to get his way and, finally, as the ``first pink light'' of dawn appears, his welcome surrender to sleep. Accordingly, Gilchrist's illustrations focus on those windows of emotion, the faces. Her portraits are suffused with ardor and affection, and help create fully realized characters. Kudos also to this duo for their loving depiction of an African American family with a strong father figure. This tender book is a valuable addition--but needn't be limited--to the multicultural bookshelf. Ages 4-11. (Oct.)