Leslea Newman, , illus. by Adriana Romo. . Two Lives, $9.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-9674468-5-1

The author of Heather Has Two Mommies pens another tale about a girl with two mothers, this time focusing on adoption. Narrowly skirting the banal, Newman relays the tender story as back-and-forth dialogue in what appears to be a long-standing, cherished bedtime routine. Mama Linda describes how two women named Linda and Vanessa decide to "find someone else who can share our love and be part of our family." Turning to Felicia, Mama Linda asks, "So who do you think became part of our family?' " Establishing a pattern, Felicia offers silly responses first ("A giraffe?" "No.... A giraffe was too tall to come into the house and read stories with us") before pretending to think up the right answer. Newman sensitively explains why mothers put their children up for adoption. "Sometimes," says Mama Linda, "[a woman] isn't able to take care of the child. So she does the most loving thing she can do: she allows the child to be adopted by parents who can take care of a baby and who want a child to love." Debut illustrator Romo supplies postcard-size watercolors framed with colorful, geometric borders that resemble Latin-American designs (Felicia was born in Guatemala); she also embellishes each page with tiny vignettes featuring a toy mouse. The relatively flat characters bespeak a naïve or folk style, but the effect seems ill suited to the text's cozy tone. Rarely making eye contact with each other or with Felicia, the two mamas often look stiff. Ages 3-up. (July)