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MARKET DAY by Eve Bunting


by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Holly Berry

Pub Date: March 30th, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-025364-9
Publisher: HarperCollins

Bunting (Dandelions, 1995, etc.) evokes an old-fashioned Irish Market Day in an era in which it took all day to spend a penny. Pig-tailed Tess, age seven, and her friend, Wee Boy, who "never grew past four," enjoy the cheerful commotion of farm animals ("you can't walk in the street without your Wellies" because of what the animals "have been doing"), a lace petticoat-stealing goat, and sideshow performers ("We're hoping something interesting will appear on the point," they say of the sword swallower). When Wee Boy worries that he'll always be wee, Tess spends her last ha'penny on a gypsy fortuneteller. Madame Savanna tells Wee Boy he'll be as "big and brave" as he needs to be. Her reassurance may sound a little hollow to readers who remember the words of Tess's mother, that the gypsy "makes up what people want to hear" in her hope-filled visions. Although the rambling story never really meshes—this is a leisurely and chaotic visit—there's so much warmth, ebullience, and jaunty charm in Berry's good-humored paintings that every page offers a richly satisfying eyeful. (Picture book. 5-8)