JOEY ON HIS OWN by Eleanor Schick


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With mother stuck indoors, as little sister Jill has a fever and can't go out, it's Joey who must go to the store for bread. The store is just around the corner, but on Joey's first trip there alone the buildings look taller, the mean kid down the block looks meaner, the traffic seems noisier, the barking dog behind the gate louder, and the store further away. Inside, the store seems bigger, more crowded, and more confusing than ever, but with a little help from several nice people Joey finds the bread and checks it through--and, on the way home, ""I feel terrific! I did everything my mother told me. The comer isn't far away at all. The dog behind the gate isn't even barking."" And similarly for the mean kid, traffic, and buildings. All this is familiar enough to elicit the everyday empathy Schick aims for, but even on the way to the store there's a feeling of flatness from the same point's insufficiently varied reiteration; the reverse parallellism on the way home is too pat, and the details of check-out routine just boring. Shick's pictures too, with their interior wood and brownstone backdrop, are warm and (at least for city kids) familiar; but the pop-like, outlined lips that look as if they were stamped on Joey (and his mother) give him a vacant, expressionless look. Kids can still relate to Joey's unease and then his satisfaction on doing a ""perfect job,"" but this is far from a resonant experience.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
Publisher: Dial