cover image Wanda's Roses

Wanda's Roses

Pat Brisson. Boyds Mills Press, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56397-136-5

Brisson ( Your Best Friend, Kate ) creates a lovable new character whose unwavering optimism transforms a rubbish-ridden vacant lot into a rose garden. Convinced that a bare thornbush is really a rosebush about to bloom, Wanda exuberantly cleans up the lot so that the bush will get more sun and air. ``You'll see,'' she says, ``in a few weeks that whole lot will be full of roses.'' Wanda's neighbors are skeptical: ``If that's a rosebush, then I'm the queen of England,'' one thinks to herself; ``If that's a rosebush, then I'm the king of France,'' the next muses privately. Still, charmed by the girl's enthusiasm, they all help her. After a month without blooms but with much camaraderie, Wanda's neighbors contribute rosebushes, and ``the whole lot was filled with the biggest, most beautiful, sweetest-smelling roses that anyone had ever seen--just as Wanda had always said it would be.'' Cheery watercolors complement this upbeat urban tale, genially depicting the city's great variety, from a chubby butcher to a kindly old woman with nylon knee highs rolled down around her ankles. Ages 4-8. (May)