cover image Ned

Ned

Selina Young / Author Thomasson Grant & Howell $14.95 (1p) ISB

Children who take comfort in the presence of a friend--even one in stuffed-animal form--will sympathize with the main characters of this compassionate tale. Emily and Ned, the latter a green cloth donkey somewhat resembling Eeyore, are nothing if not inseparable. Emily attributes her own ideas and feelings to Ned, and on her admittedly scary first day of school, Ned naturally tags along. Unfortunately, Ned's classroom experience proves arduous, for he falls on the floor and gets lost. ``It sounds as though you and Ned might each have had a better day if he'd been home,'' Emily's understanding mother comments after the crisis has passed. While Young's first picture book, Maybe It's a Pirate , featured spreads swirling with color, this more restrained book makes good use of negative space and often includes a couple of situations per page. If it's not as artistically freewheeling as its predecessor, this kindhearted book nevertheless comments worthily on security blankets, indulgence and independence. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)