cover image Peeny Butter Fudge

Peeny Butter Fudge

Toni Morrison, Slade Morrison, , illus. by Joe Cepeda. . S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-8332-3

“12:00 Lunch, 1:15 Nap, 2:25 Playground...” read Mama's instructions, posted to the fridge. But when three children spend the afternoon with Nana, the schedule is forgotten. No TV for them: it's stories (“Fairies, dragons everywhere./ Creepy things under the stairs”), potato sack races, dancing to music from a record player and making “peeny butter fudge” (recipe included). The only moment of doubt occurs when Mama comes home to find three fudge-splattered children and a wreck of a kitchen. But the smell of fudge triggers a mental photograph of Mama making fudge as a child (“My mother taught me,” Nana tells the children, “and I taught yours”), and the story ends with a hug. Cepeda's (Mice and Beans ) smudgy, intensely colored paintings keep the action moving and convey a house overflowing with warmth. The Morrisons' (The Book of Mean People ) slant rhyme text is occasionally slapdash (“Peeny butter, peeny butter/ Nana is the best grandmother”), but versifying rules are for grownups. This is a vision of family life that many kids, rushed from soccer practice to violin lessons, will regard with envy. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)