PreS. Baker's experience as a preschool teacher shines through in these two little stories, which manage to portray a young child's world in a way that is both beguiling and unflinchingly realistic. In Shares, Mommy puts cookies on a plate for Anna to share with her playmate, but the little girl can clearly see that four cookies are better than two. Anna, whose sweet disposition hides her iron-willed determination not to submit to tyranny, decides not to share. The story's outcome may not seem fair to adults, but toddlers will take satisfaction in the happy ending and preschoolers will find it funny. In Book, Mommy reads Anna her new book once, twice, and a third time. Laundry beckons, Mommy leaves, then Anna reads her new book to Teddy Bear just as many times as he asks. Though Anna initially tugs at her mother's skirt to bring her back to reading, the child doesn't fall apart but finds her own solution. O'Neill's breezy ink drawings, brightened with washes in cheerful hues, contribute to the stories' simple narrative appeal and visual charm. Carolyn Phelan
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About the Author
Catharine ONeill has illustrated many books, including Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Ireland, by Virginia Haviland, and Mrs. Dunphys Dog, which she wrote.