cover image Wisteria Jane

Wisteria Jane

Amber Harris, illus. by Ard Hoyt. Redleaf Lane (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-60554-411-3

Debut author Harris introduces Wisteria Jane, an inquisitive girl with springy blonde curls, gangly limbs, a gap between her front teeth, and a folksy narrative voice (“My momma named me Wisteria on account of wisteria being her most favorite flower”). When Wisteria’s friend Ella shows her one of her baby pictures, Wisteria tells her that perhaps she was named after an elephant, since she looks like “a wrinkly mess” in the photo. A heart-to-heart conversation with Wisteria’s mother, about not always saying what’s on one’s mind, leads to an apology and reconciliation between the friends. Hoyt creates a peaceful suburban neighborhood bursting with vegetation and brings a caricatured aesthetic to the characters that matches Wisteria’s big personality. While there’s little that’s novel about the story’s approach to the subject of empathy, a good-natured sense of humor helps carry it along. Ages 3–8. [em](Oct.) [/em]