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Cherries and Cherry Pits

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The creator of A Chair for My Mother, Something Special for Me and other stories for children introduces us to another irresistible heroine. Bedemmi loves to draw pictures with colored markers and write stories that always start ``with the word THIS.'' Exquisitely decorated and deceptively simple, the book alternates between the narrator's spare descriptions and evocative watercolors, and Bedemmi's own captivating tales and vivid, imaginative drawings. The book's title refers to Bedemmi's storiesall of which involve folks ``eating cherries and spitting out the pits, eating cherries and spitting out the pits.'' What about all those pits? Bedemmi has an ``important plan.'' She will plant them in her yard so they will grow ``until there is a whole forest of cherry trees right on our block.'' Williams's latest work is another glowing tale of the transformational power of a child's creativity and love. (4-up)

K-Gr 2 Bidemmi, a young black child, draws splendid pictures. ``As she draws, she tells the story of what she is drawing,'' always starting with the word ``this.'' Bidemmi's brightly colored words and pictures introduce children to the man with the nice face that's dark brown; to the tiny, white, grandmotherly lady; and to the tall boy who is much like Bidemmi's own brother. Finally, Bidemmi tells her story, revealing her wish for her neighborhood and her world. Each story involves cherriesbuying, sharing, and enjoying them. The man with the nice face shares them with his children, the tiny lady with her parrot, the tall boy with his little sister. Bidemmi will eat her cherries and then plant the pits, nourish them, watch them grow, and share the fruit with people from all over the neighborhood. Williams uses a first-person narrator to tie these tales together. Very different styles of illustration further define who is speaking. Soft, beautifully-crafted watercolors depict Bidemmi as the narrator speaks. As Bidemmi herself tells her stories, fresh, child-like, highly detailed illustrations done in lustrous colored markers are used. Well formated text and illustrations complement, enhance, and extend each other. All together, this is a fresh and imaginative book which exudes a respect for and understanding of children. Maria B. Salvadore, District of Columbia Public Library

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