Books by Norman Leach

Released: March 31, 1993

Though his new stepmother, Annie, is unfailingly kind and tries to share Tom's imaginative games when friends Jack and David put him down (``Superman's boring! I've got a Batman cape''), Tom refuses to respond (``I don't smile at wicked stepmothers''). Even after she stands up to the rude boys, who almost spoil Tom's birthday, he refuses to give her a goodnight kiss—until Annie's tears melt the barrier and the two become friends at last. The story (Leach's first; he has recently died) is simply told, with vocabulary referring to witches (``she might turn me into a frog'') adroitly conveying the feelings of a little boy who enjoys the world of fantasy. Browne, whose clean designs and precise modeling echo her renowned husband Anthony's art, brings unusual insight to her appealing watercolors, dressing Annie in black, slyly incorporating other witchy details (a spider plant), and tenderly revealing emotion through posture as well as facial expressions. Pair this with Rosenberg's Monster Mama (p. 153) for a provocative contrast. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >