A PICNIC, HURRAH! by Franz Brandenberg


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Youngsters acquainted with Elizabeth and Edward, first met in No School Today (1975), can now, happily, follow the (cat) family's further doings for themselves--in an easy reader that shapes up, atypically, as a little three-chapter novel. At the outset Edward is wishing for a picnic and Elizabeth is longing for a mailbox ""so that I could get some mail."" He builds her the mailbox but it remains empty until, on his advice, she writes letters--inviting herself, Edward, their parents, relatives, and friends to a picnic. Chapter 2 is the day of the picnic--a rainy day, as it turns out; but since ""A picnic indoors is more fun than no picnic at all"" (says Mother sagely), all assembled go back upstairs and do as they would have done outdoors. In the midst of the boisterous play, the doorbell rings. ""Who""--much scurrying--""could it be?"" Maybe, just maybe, an apartment-house child will come up with the answer: ""the neighbors from downstairs,"" who, naturally enough, are complaining about the clamor. The inspired solution to keeping the neighbors' children awake is to invite them up--after all, more players are needed for Musical Chairs. The dextrous structuring anticipates this, just as it provides for a return to the letter-and-picnic motif and enables each episode to be read separately. There are droll lines (re a suddenly-empty mailbox: ""The mailman doesn't come on Sunday"") and others that youngsters will relish as a break with the rules--most especially, ""It won't hurt the children to stay up a little later for once."" The patterned action and the frame-by-frame picturization attend equally to young preoccupations and beginning-to-read needs: in a modest way, it's a knockout.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1978
Publisher: Greenwillow