SEREFINA UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES by Phyllis Theroux

SEREFINA UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES

Age Range: 7 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this picture-book debut, Serefina is seven years old and comes, her grandmother says, “from a long line of people who are full of imagination.” Serefina envisions all her ancestors dangling from a clothesline as her grandmother reminds her that an imagination is a “blessing, as long as you don’t let it run away with you.” When the grandmother bestows a secret upon Serefina—that her brother, Buster, is to have a surprise birthday party—it takes root, sprouts, and quickly grows so large that the child has difficulty not blurting it out. After she does just that, Serefina’s story to her grandmother about why telling the secret became a life-and-death whopper (the “circumstances” of the title), the older woman is no less loving, apparently resigned to the fact that a child who is “destined for greatness” may need a little poetic license along the way. Priceman’s humorous scenes embellish and extend the wordplay in the text, offering literal visual translations of words and the exaggerated effects of Serefina’s imagination on daily events. Storytelling and the power of words, however, while present as themes, never overwhelm the delicately wrapped core of this piece: the tolerance and unconditional affection between the two main characters. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-15942-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999




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