From Publishers Weekly
A first effort for both author and illustrator, this languorous picture book focuses on two African American sisters living in the rural South in the 1940s who spend a summer day caring for an elderly neighbor with a sore foot. Seemingly matching the stride of the season's sleepy pace, the low-key narrative follows the day's activities: the girls help Miss Dessa stitch a quilt; dress up in old clothing from a trunk in the back room; pick flowers from the garden and fruit from nearby trees; and eventually read Miss Dessa a bedtime story before they themselves curl up in an old iron bed. There's not much in the way of action or use of language to hook readers; however, Stroud successfully conveys the strength of the bond between two generations, subtly underscoring the key fact that, though the siblings are ostensibly there to help Miss Dessa, the support and caring are mutual. Similarly, while Marshall's textured acrylic illustrations also capture the characters' compassion, the images are often too sketchy and blurred, more impressionistic than dynamic. Ages 4-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3. This warm story about two girls who take care of an elderly woman is set in the rural South of the author's childhood. When Miss Dessa, who has looked after the two sisters, falls and hurts her ankle, the children return the favor by keeping her company. They drink coffee-flavored milk, quilt, play dress-up and tag, pick flowers, and read aloud together. Even when the younger girl falls off the tire swing, life is still good and the three sing and clap to "Zudie-O" to cheer her up. Marshall's impressionistic acrylic paintings present these African-American friends with distinction and style. This is a good read-aloud and discussion book, especially for children who are cared for by older friends and relatives, as the exchange of caring definitely goes two ways. It will also fill the demand for books about families, intergenerational activities, and being good neighbors.?Susan Hepler, Alexandria City Public Schools, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.