Elizabeth Laird, , illus. by Liz Pichon. . Peachtree, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-305-4

Beatrice, the heroine of Laird's (When the World Began ) retelling of an African folktale, sets out across the jungle to her grandfather's house, intending to present him with a beautiful bunch of bananas. But a giraffe "flicks his tufty tail" and accidentally knocks the bananas out of Beatrice's arms and into a stream—setting off a chain reaction of animal faux pas and contrition that eventually brings the plot full circle. The giraffe apologizes by replacing the bananas with flowers; these in turn are ruined by some overzealous bees, who make amends by giving Beatrice some of their honey, and so on. The reparations of the final animal, an elephant, consist of none other than a bunch of bananas. "Oh, thank you," says round-faced, winsome Beatrice. "Bananas are best, after all." Pichon's (God Bless the Moon ) pictures teem with energy, whether emanating from the comically expressive heroine or the boisterous but eager-to-please animals. The benevolently exotic setting glows with lemon yellow light and lime-green foliage, and readers will enjoy spotting, on each spread, the pair of eyes shining out between the jungle leaves. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)