A little girl has a big talent—blending into the background. Is it fun for all?
Readers first glimpse pale-skinned, black-haired Heidi riding a scooter in front of a blue picket fence; the stripes of her dress and of the long scarf trailing behind her make her easy to miss at first glance. The same thing happens when she’s lying on a flowered couch, standing in front of the chalkboard, or playing in the forest. She’s not exactly Waldo, but it’s easy to skip over her. Naturally, Heidi loves to play hide-and-seek. During her birthday party, she blends easily into a bunch of balloons—but her friends get tired of looking for her and instead dig into some yummy ice cream sundaes. After the party, Heidi has a good long think, and the next day, when Freddie suggests a “hippity-hop race,” Heidi’s quick to second the motion. Freddie’s very good at it. They have a roller-skate race; Katie wins. And Lizzie’s the best at climbing the jungle gym. Heidi’s happy with her friends. (With her dark skin and puffy, tightly curled pigtails, Katie is the only obvious character of color.) Heidi’s hiding provides some nifty optical illusions, and Woodcock’s illustrations have an appealing gossamer quality. The story itself is told with similar subtle economy, which could elude younger readers.
A lovely, inventive take on learning to give and take, for older preschoolers and young grade schoolers. (Picture book. 4-7)