From School Library Journal
PreSchool-James, an urban-dwelling preschooler, goes on various short outings with his parents. They take a bus to visit a family with twins, a taxi to Grandma's house, and a yellow car to the county fair. They walk next door to a red brick apartment building so he can play with his friend Angela. After each trip, readers are asked "And what do you think James liked best?" Four suggestions are given and listeners have the opportunity to make a personal choice (there are no "correct" answers). The realistic, brightly colored, gouache and pen-and-ink illustrations chronicle everyday events in the boy's life. Ample white space gives the book a sparkling clean, uncluttered look, and the pictures are large enough to be enjoyed by a group. A cheery, appealing addition that is perfectly in tune with a young child's sensibilities.Janet M. Bair, Trumbull Library, CT
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* PreS. Schwartz is known for capturing the moods and motivations of young ones, and in this delightful offering she also invites children to see if they can figure out what the characters are thinking about. The appealing, oversize book contains four stories about young James, who likes to go visiting. He takes a bus to the suburbs to see a family with twins, and a taxi to Grandma's, where he plays cards with his aunt (the one with funny hair). A car transports James and his parents to the country fair; cotton candy and corn on the cob are attractions. But for a visit to his friend Angela's, all James has to do is walk down the block. Both text and artwork are designed for interaction as Schwartz puts specific questions to her audience: "What do you think James liked best? Was it the corn on the cob? The green snake? Or the windshield wipers." The dialogue is simplicity itself, and Schwartz knows just what children will find interesting. She also knows that parents will want to know their little ones' opinions, feelings, and observations about the goings-on. Within James' simple everyday travels is a path for parents to engage their children in dialogue and a way for kids to stretch their imaginations and learn how to make choices. Schwartz's signature paintings are simple, bright, and touched with patterns, and they show up well against expanses of white background. The book's underlying usefulness, one-on-one or in groups, is equaled by its fun. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved