cover image Albert the Fix-it Man

Albert the Fix-it Man

Janet Lord, , illus. by Julie Paschkis. . Peachtree, $15.95 (28pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-433-4

Folkloric illustrations perk up this sister team’s (Here Comes Grandma ) otherwise modest tale about the value of community. Decked out in plaid shirt and overalls and sporting a snowy white beard that Santa might envy, Albert fixes Mr. Jensen’s truck, fastens Akiko’s clothesline and repairs Mrs. Peabody’s leaky faucet; no job is too small. When Albert catches cold and takes to his bed, Mr. Jenkins drives the neighbors to Albert’s house, where he is served beans from the garden he fenced, mint tea in the cup he mended and an apple pie covered with a cloth from the clothesline. Visual details enhance the story: the characters are of various ages and races; many different kinds of tools are put to use. Animals, including Albert’s spotted gray cat, romp freely throughout. Paschkis favors flat shapes filled with decoration, using geometric patterns to adorn curtains, tablecloths and dresses, for example, and presenting plants and foliage as stylized ornaments. Readers will appreciate the warm portrayal of neighbors taking care of one another. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)