cover image The Real Pretend

The Real Pretend

Joan Donaldson. Checkerboard Press, $12.95 (25pp) ISBN 978-1-56288-158-0

An incident from Donaldson's grandmother's childhood is commemorated in this nostalgic story. Bored one afternoon, little Kathy canvasses the neighborhood with a catalogue--``I'll get orders and pretend I'll deliver them later.'' Her brother finds the orders and mails them off, hoping the company will write his sister a letter praising her efforts. His good intentions backfire, however: the items are sent C.O.D., and a tidy sum is owed. It's up to Kathy and Robert to wiggle out of their scrape--fortunately, their neighbors are both understanding and generous, and all's well in the end. Although the tale is a bit long for the picture-book format, first-time author Donaldson's low-key style and Tudor's dainty, old-fashioned country scenes suggest an enjoyable summer afternoon spent poring over an album of faded family photographs. Both text and art are surrounded by gossamer oval borders depicting country flora and artifacts--a further harkening to halcyon days of yore. Ages 4-8. (Dec.)