This trio of Dutch newcomers suggests that even little wishes can bring great
happiness. Lila, a red-headed woman in a billowing blue dress and stark-white
apron, lives "far away from the rest of the world," sowing seeds, picking
beans and making applesauce. She's got a big orange cat, and a neighbor with a
red tractor, but in the deep of winter, when she runs out of food, she's on
her own. Gerritsen draws the potentially tense empty pantry scene
tongue-in-cheek; the cat peers mournfully through an empty glass jar. Lila
wishes on a star for enough flour to make bread, and gets it. "Of course, she
could have wished for something completely different...," the narrator
explains, "a mountain of gold and diamonds, a carriage, and a palace with
servants." Fantasy spreads show Lila ill-at-ease in a Cinderella-style ball
gown. Lila does, however, hazard one extravagant wish, for "two cakes-and a
tractor-shiny red-with a chauffeur." For younger readers who can't connect the
dots, Gerritsen depicts Lila and the neighboring farmer tearing through the
sunflowers in the tractor, the cat hanging gamely to the smokestack. A
heavier-handed setting might have made readers impatient with Lila's stubborn
refusal to wish big; as it is, they will wish they could meet Lila themselves.
Ages 2-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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