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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Say It! Written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Charlotte Voake. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2015. $21.00 ages 3 and up

"Just then a small black kitten
scampered down a driveway
and stood paw deep in a pool
of orange and brown leaves.

"What a little black cat you are,"
said the mother.

The little cat curved its paw
and went scrambling away in
a scurry of leaves."

Shoot! I missed our lovely fall with this one. Sorry about that ...

In this reissue of a 1980 book, we watch a little one and her mother as they share the inherent joys of being together on a glorious autumn day. As they wander along paths and through the nearby countryside, they savor the many little adventures that await them. A tiny kitten scampers past, a small pond provides a reflection, a friendly dog lopes toward them and milkweed fluff lands gently.

All the while, the little girl keeps a careful watch on her mother and issues a repeated refrain - "Say it." Mama tells her all about the things they are seeing and enjoying together. Her responses are not exactly what her daughter is seeking. And so, they walk. They listen together to the many familiar sounds, observe the seasonal changes, feel the strong wind blowing past and through them, smell the smoke from her father's 'welcome home' fire.

As the get nearer to hearth and home, the little one cannot contain her joy and her anticipation any longer:

"The little girl ran up to her mother
and flung her arms around her.
The purple clouds blew into the chimney smoke,
the leaves whirled around them,
and the mother picked the little girl up.

"Say it," shrieked the little girl.
   "Say it,
       say it,
           say it!"

Finally, she hears what she has been longing to hear. All is right in her world!

Charlotte Zolotow's beautiful, clear prose is matched perfectly by Ms. Voakes' soft watercolors. Simple lines and clearly communicated emotions show young readers the beauty and joy to be found in this delightful experience. The language written so long ago by Ms. Zolotow has certainly stood the test of time, and today's readers are in for a lovely experience when sharing it!

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