Artfully constructed images of the early 19th century reflect daily life through the names of patchwork quilt patterns. In her introduction, Paul (Eight Hands Round: A Patchwork Alphabet, 1991) imagines the life of a rural child in the century following the Declaration of Independence. Then, in sections named for the seasons, she recounts events and activities that may have inspired the names of quilt patterns. ""Bear's Paw"" describes an encounter with a grizzly, while ""Cake Stand"" mentions a harvest gathering where the platters, food baskets, and dessert stands decorate an outdoor table. Each page holds one of McCurdy's plainspoken scratchboard illustrations, a paragraph of text, and two quilt blocks: One is the pattern itself, the other is of four blocks together to give a sense of the finished quilt. McCurdy has a following, and quilting is again in vogue, but the elegant architecture of this conceit may have difficulty finding an audience; it's a nice book that somehow fails to sing.