Books by Susan Goldhor

ANIMALS
Released: May 31, 2001

Lerner and Goldhor are so agenda-driven—their message to Be Your Own Person! feels like it's being nailed to your forehead—that their story is more like a lecture, despite the peerless Oxenbury's sweet-hearted illustrations. Franny has a great mop of wild red hair—her pride and joy. Mother, sister, and father all advise her to get it cut—or at least tamed—but she refuses. Comes the day of the family reunion and her mother insists that she get a hair-do, which is essentially piling the hair in a topknot. At first Franny is appalled, but when a bird takes up residence in her hair, she decides it might be all right. As in several other recent stories about tending to unexpected tenants, (The Singing Hat, p. 187; Albert, p. 263), Franny accommodates the bird by bathing instead of showering, sleeping upright, and doing deep-knee bends to take off her shoes. She is the hit of the reunion (bringing happiness to the dour and the halt in another of Lerner and Goldhor's ham-handed lessons)—but decides the next day to get her hair cut. Why? "A little birdie told me to," she chirrups as she hands the clippings to the bird to build a nest. This force-feeding of Franny's nonconformity is enough to make rebellious youngsters want to toe the line, if this is what being a maverick means. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 30, 1996

O'Neill's sunny illustrations abet Lerner and Goldhor's first children's book but can't hoist it aloft. Katie teases her little sister, Rosie, about the consequences of accidentally swallowing an apple seed: A tree will shortly take root in Rosie's stomach. Katie assures her the branches will grow out of her ears and get all the sunshine they need. Swearing the younger girl to secrecy, she carries the deception a step further by examining Katie's ears at night for incipient budding. Even when Rosie is sad and can't sleep, a guilt-stricken Katie, afraid to tell the truth, comes up with more elaborations on the lie to cheer her sister up. When Rosie reveals her secret to a friend, she learns the truth and confronts Katie, who blames the victim (``I can't help it if you believe everything I say!'') but is secretly relieved. Determinedly lighthearted in telling and pictures, the book feels superficial: Katie gets off the hook without any scrutiny of what is really a cruel and prolonged prank. For a sharper observance of truth and consequences, there's the Caldecott-winning classic by Evaline Ness, Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >