From Publishers Weekly
This meager original fable by celebrated author LeGuin concerns two adult friends, Thinking Man and Writing Woman. He is impeccably neat; she could care less about being tidy. He thinks; she writes and makes books. While they maintain separate lives (and homes), they enjoy each other's company. On one occasion, they speculate what kind of child they would each like. Thinking Man envisions a girl, but only as a flutter of dress and a patter of feet--nothing more. Writing Woman sees a boy--someone who can catch fish to be put into soup and perform other helpful chores. Their imaginations bring forth their own personal creations, with unexpected complications. Part fantasy, part comic look at parents' unrealistic expectations, this book may hold some vague appeal for children who like fantasy; LeGuin's loyal fans may also have an interest. All in all, however, the didactic tale isn't enough of a story from this gifted writer. Plus, Wynne's sepia-toned, cross-hatched art, despite a few clever touches (flying mice, a droll chess set), is bland--its prosaic, earthbound quality makes for a poor match with LeGuin's flight of fancy. Ages 7-9.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-- The Thinking Man and the Writing Woman cement their friendship by dreaming up their ideal children. He imagines a little girl who flutters and twinkles; she imagines a little boy who can fish and produce food for them. And lo! the children appear, but there is something wrong with them. The boy grows much too large to shelter, and the girl is nothing but a dress and shoes. Soon the adults realize they have expected the wrong things of the youngsters: too much of the boy and not enough of the girl. All is then put to rights. The setting of this social allegory is a far-off land of romance, in a literary sense. It is a story of mysterious events and idealized love. Writing Woman's books, which include The Oxford Elvish Dictionary and Logic Made Difficult , are strongly suggestive of the mythic nature of the tale. Flying mice and talking cats add to the otherworldliness, but there are blunt points made, too; the woman keeps a messy house, while the man is a neatnik. The effort to avoid a stereotype is almost itself a stereotype. Black-and-white drawings on a pale yellow background portray realistic humans set in a folkloric environment. Snug little cottages with twining vines and bottle glass windows appear in forests filled with gnarled trees and gnomish mushrooms. A good choice for those looking for easy fiction on gender discrimination. --Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.