Books by Barbara Santucci

ABBY’S CHAIRS by Barbara Santucci
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

No matter what new homeowner Abby does, she just can't seem to figure out a pleasing arrangement for her chair collection. She visits the local hardware store and paints them vibrant new colors. She visits the local fabric store, then reupholsters in cheerful prints and lace. She checks out a library book on furniture placement and follows its guidance. Nothing works. "Maybe I just have too many chairs," she sighs sadly, and lugs them all to her front lawn along with a handmade sign: "Free Chairs." Soon she's visited by each of the friendly folks she met in her efforts. One by one, they each pull a chair up in the shade (chairs that, also coincidentally, fit their own personalities), and it becomes clear that empty chairs are meaningless until there's someone to sit in them. Over-stuffed with homespun country charm, the effort's simple yet tenuous lesson can't overcome its contrived plot. Ultimately, the cozy-but-slight story and repetitive watercolor art will have a tough time interesting most bored-out-of-their-seats children with its adult characters, adult situations, and adult sentiments. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
ANNA’S CORN by Barbara Santucci
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

A little girl experiences the loss of her grandfather in this sad, sweet tale about death. Anna, a farmer's granddaughter, learns how to hear the "corn make music" from Grandpa. Together during one of their walks through the cornfields, they listen to the wind traveling through the stalks. After she hears the music this creates, Anna's grandfather gives her some corn kernels to plant the following spring and makes her promise that she will. The adult reader will probably know what's coming next when, that winter, Anna's grandfather dies. When spring arrives, Anna's reluctant to plant the kernels. When her mother asks her why, Anna replies, "If I bury them, they'll be gone forever." Her mother says, "They won't be gone, Anna. They'll just be different." Anna finally summons up the courage to plant the seeds and listens to her own "corn music." She also takes a few kernels from the new stalks to plant the next year—a nice moment to suggest the cycle of life. Santucci's (Loon Summer, not reviewed) style is straightforward and her simple language and realistic dialogue serve the subject matter well. The story doesn't unearth any new insights on losing a loved one, but does provide an easy window through which to view grief. Bloom's (When Uncle Took the Fiddle, 1999, etc.) classic colored pencils and pastels reflect the gentleness of the story. Most illustrations are not full spreads, making it better for an intimate read. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >