cover image No Bows!

No Bows!

Shirley Smith Duke, , illus. by Jenny Mattheson. . Peachtree, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-356-6

A feisty redhead asserts her sense of identity in this book of few words but strong feelings. Each right-hand page names and illustrates what the girl does not want while the following left-hand page shows her preference. For example, the opening illustration depicts the moon-faced, wide-eyed heroine with yellow bows in her coiffed hair, pouting ("no bows..."); on the next page, she hangs upside down, her hair plaited, smiling ("braids "). Newcomer Duke's text for unsatisfactory items appears in lower case, while the girl's choices seem to shout out in bold capital letters: "no pink... purple / no puppy... lizard / no piano... drums ." Mattheson's (The Great Tulip Trade ) paintings juxtapose the girl's rejections in small-scale, often framed images with full-bleed full-page paintings of her chosen alternatives. The approach serves to illuminate the child's perspective and her determined resistance to comply. Adults usually appear as arms and legs, either confining or chasing the heroine. However, the conclusion, in which the girl responds enthusiastically when her parents ask "Hugs?" asserts reassuringly that no matter how willful and exhausting the child may be, her parents cherish her independent spirit. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)