Another flawed attempt to deal with children's concerns about the homeless. Like Karen Barbour in Mr. Bow Tie (1991),...

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SEEING EYE WILLIE

Another flawed attempt to deal with children's concerns about the homeless. Like Karen Barbour in Mr. Bow Tie (1991), Gottlieb uses flamboyant color and arrestingly bold design in illustrations that also exhibit an appealing tenderness. The child here is more aware of possibilities (""Maybe he has no money. Maybe he doesn't want any money. Maybe he'd like my money. Maybe he has lots of money""), and nothing really changes--which is far more realistic than Barbour's saccharine conclusion. It's the middle that's weak here: wondering what Willie's story is, the narrator imagines him journeying around the world as a baby, losing an eye when a friendly lion scratches him by mistake, being given his embroidered slippers by a Chinese monkey, his coat by a seal (?!), and so on. This imaginary story is childlike, but it doesn't advance understanding of Willie's plight, and the implicit conclusion--that speculation is fruitless and could be unkind--is disturbingly at odds with the elaborate fantasy, which takes up more than half the book.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992