MY UNCLE NIKOS by Julie Delton


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No one needs this friendly stop-over at a Greek village: it scores no geographical or ethnic points. But no one will be sorry to make the acquaintance of small narrator Helena, who visits her Uncle Nikos on summer weekends, or to follow them from bakery to butcher shop to grocer's (""I like the big, fat green [olives], and Uncle likes the wrinkled black ones. . .""), and then home by taxi (a mainstay of the villagers, who can't afford cars). There is no sign of a story anywhere, and no rigged-up theme or concept. Rather, the pictures have a cheerful vitality, with a touch of humor, that's Simont at his everyday best; and the text talks the same language. In the middle of the table, at dinner, is a huge salad: ""We pick up our forks and begin to eat the salad together, right out of the bowl, both of us after the last olive in the bottom. This time I win--the last olive is fat and green."" During an after-dinner tour of the garden, a broken branch turns up on the pear tree: ""There are two baby pears at the end of the branch, and Uncle says, 'We must try to save them.' "" The bandaging of that branch--how it's done, the hope that the pears will survive--then becomes the nearest thing to a motif in the book. It couldn't be a nicer one for conveying the texture and emotions of plain, full (and different) living.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: Crowell