Books by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard

FLOWER GIRL BUTTERFLIES by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2004

Sarah's aunt is getting married in this familiar story of a flower girl's performance anxiety; the cover depicting a beaming Sarah foreshadows a happy ending. The first page of text expresses the momentousness of the invitation to be in the wedding party, accompanied by a close-up of Sarah's clearly apprehensive little face. All the wedding preparations, up to and including Sarah's ultimately triumphant trip down the aisle, are artfully and accurately described, which will also make the story enjoyable as a kind of primer on wedding traditions and expectations. Krömer's expressive illustrations make effective use of watercolor, colored pencil, and collage to extend the text and animate the recognizable characters in this warm African-American family drama. One false note is a cloying greeting card moment, in Sarah's dreams, showing bride and groom, astride white stallion accompanied by doves, flying off together into the heavens. But overall the effervescent, humorous quality of the illustrations successfully matches the warm mood of the festivities. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
LULA’S BIRTHDAY by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 31, 2001

Howard's great-aunt, Lulu, is the inspiration for this sweet book about a woman who is admired and loved by many. After being an elementary school teacher for 50 years and an exemplary citizen, the real Lulu became everybody's "grandma," just like in the book. In return for her kindness, Lulu's family and friends want to do something nice for her birthday. Lulu suggests to the two youngsters in her care, Laurie and J. Matthew, that they celebrate her special occasion by repeating one of their favorite activities from their summer together. The trio recalls their trips to the zoo, beach, ballet, movies, and baseball game, while readers are treated to candy-colored illustrations of their happy days. Meanwhile we know the children have a secret for which we are offered hints, as bits of birthday presents, balloons, and whispering people appear in the window behind Lulu. Happily, Laurie and J. Matthew tell Lulu they are taking her somewhere for a change instead of her always being the giver. They lead her, closed-eyed and spinning, around the house, telling her not to peek until they have the delighted birthday guest-of-honor settled in her familiar comfy chair. "Surprise!" Everyone yells and Lulu opens her eyes to see a gathering of her many loved ones and a beautiful cake created by the children. This delicious story ends with the author's family recipe for One-Two-Three-Four Cake, leaving readers with a good taste in their mouths as well as in their minds. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 31, 1993

Recalling her father's childhood, the author of Chita's Christmas Tree (1989) describes him waiting, with his little sister, for a train that will pass their home near Baltimore. Mac dreams of becoming a railroad engineer, but tonight the children have a special reason for anticipation: Uncle Clem, who goes to college, has a summer job in the dining car and has promised to toss them a present from the moving train. Most of the quiet text concerns the children's speculation about what this could be, in the course of which Howard adroitly suggests the happy stability of their family; in the end, the package contains a Florida shell, an entrancing symbol, for the children, of the possibilities represented by the train that passes so close and travels so far. Only in a prefatory comment does Howard note that Mac's ambition in turn-of-the-century America was not realistic, since he was African-American. Carter's mixed-media art has a nice feel for the family's attractive country house and the darkening summer evening; her characterizations are a little bland, but have a pleasing warmth. An attractive vignette. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >