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Crisp, sparkling good looks cunningly employed to allay a common fear. The end-papers (and flaps) present us with an op-ish expanse of black-and-white bathroom tile; the title-page spread adds a rag rug and the bottom of a towel. Overleaf--""Holes, holes""--a brown-skinned little girl bends to finger a hole in the toe of her red sleepers, clutching a stuffed bunny with a hole in its seam. Coming next--""I don't like holes. . . they scare toe'--is the drainhole in the tub, the hole in the toilet bowl. What the little girl does like are ""peeks""--through a draped towel and a rolled paper, under a hamper lid or an oversize shirt. With peeks--of her own making--she can scare other people. ""But if holes are fixed"" (the toe, the seam) ""or plugged"" (the bathtub drain, with a stopper) ""or made smaller"" (the toilet bowl, with a child-seat), ""they don't scare me any more."" The final fillip: ""I might even close the door (but I'll leave a peek)."" Neither the physical hole/peek paralellism nor the emotional scary/scaring parallelism is exploited as a psychological cure-all, you'll notice: the child is not expected to be unafraid of one kind of hole because she's not afraid of another (any more than is an adult). But in everyday life holes can be made less frightening--and the scared can be the scarer. Entirely set in or adjacent to the bathroom, it's also a spanking recognition of the major part that room plays in the lives of the very young.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1984
Publisher: Greenwillow