The cozy disarray of London nursery-schooler Alfie's world, richly portrayed in Hughes' representational watercolors (a...

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ALFIE GIVES A HAND

The cozy disarray of London nursery-schooler Alfie's world, richly portrayed in Hughes' representational watercolors (a contrast with characteristic American sketchiness), is the setting for another affecting, warming stage-of-growth. Alfie's set to go to best-friend Bernard's birthday party, his first; and, apprehensive, he clutches ""his old bit of blanket."" Bernard behaves obstreperously (to his mother's nicely controlled dismay). Shy Asian Min cries, and clings to Alfie for protection. (The children are a polyglot group, but so individually characterized that skin colors don't stand out.) And Alfie, so he can hold her hand (as well as Bernard's) in a play-circle, makes the ""brave decision"" to put his blanket down, in a safe place. ""Mia stopped crying. She wasn't frightened of Bernard in his tiger mask now that she was holding Alfie's hand."" Leavened by birthday-party abandon, even the final praise for Alfie's helpfulness, and his foreshadowed farewell to the blanket, don't seem tendentious.

Pub Date: March 12, 1984

ISBN: 1862307857

Page Count: -

Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1984