TREAD SOFTLY by Corinne Gerson


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A younger, lighter, tighter story than last year's Passing Through, and better in each of those respects. Not that almost-twelve Kitten's quandary isn't all-too-real: drawn to charming, attractive Mrs. Folsom and her three-year-old son Tommy, orphaned Kitten gabbles on about her own little sister, allows as how, yes, she's a great help to her mother, and so lands a summer baby-sitting job with the Folsoms. Grandma and Grandpa, always ready with a maxim for Kitten and her younger brother, would expect her to be truthful--and she honestly means to own up, but there never seems to be a chance. Newcomer Lulu, one of a big, warm, happy-go-lucky Southern brood, understands why Kitten would want a ""secret family"" for consolation; and when Kitten and the Folsoms, and Lulu and the family she baby-sits for, go off to a Maine lake for a week, she helps Kitten cover up the deception. ""It was almost like a game,"" Kitten thinks, ""a game that wasn't going to hurt anyone."" But Lulu proves briefly faithless, the Folsom; are basically phonies, and when the secret comes out and Mrs. F. condemns Kitten, she's understandably devastated. But Grandpa and Grandma rally behind her, with sharp words for Mrs. F., and Lulu apologizes, meanwhile confiding that her own household is less perfect than it looks. So it's good-by to make-believe ""Mums"" et al.--Kitten has all the family ""she really needed."" A little slick, true, but snappy in the telling and forthright on the moral/psychological plane.

Pub Date: June 11th, 1979
Publisher: Dial