cover image Mary Wore a Red Dress

Mary Wore a Red Dress

James Cross Giblin, Merle Peek. Clarion Books, $15.95 (25pp) ISBN 978-0-89919-324-3

Peek appends a note about his version of the Texas folk song, along with invitations for children to make up their own lines to sing when they master the easy musical arrangement appended. Starting with dandy black-and-white drawings of a woodland, Peek gradually builds up to full-color illustrations of a gala occasion. Flashes of red and green show up first when Mary Squirrel and Henry Raccoon meet on the way to Kate Bear's birthday party. The revelry at the gathering is heightened by Kate's yellow sweater, the blue, purple, orange, etc., in the guests' costumes. Standout details include the Bears' formal garden in bloom, status-symbol house furnishing (marble statues of twin bears flank the fireplace and support the mantel), imposing birthday cake et al. The towering confection is an uncommon treat; so is the book.(37)