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by Rumer Godden & illustrated by Valerie Littlewood

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: May 27th, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-11319-2
Publisher: Greenwillow

 Illustrated with delicate full-color spot and page-size illustrations, Godden's newest has the timeless appeal of much of her work. Not unlike Burnett's Mary Lennox, impulsive Keiko is spoiled and selfish when she arrives at her great-grandparents' country home; her citified ways, meanwhile, seem just plain raucous in this setting of precious plum blossom dishes and tiny pretend teas under the trees, with pine needles as chopsticks. Initiating her into an appreciation of nature and the habits of the elderly folk is younger cousin Yìji, whose precocious insights are tempered by his good-hearted enthusiasm. An artist who is outwardly somewhat brusque, Great Grandfather paints Keiko's portrait on a rare occasion when she makes herself sit still; his wife, ``Old Mother,'' has crinkly, doll-like features that would set any child at ease. When Keiko rescues Yìji with quick thinking, she is no changeling made over into an ideal of girlhood, but simply a child who has redirected her high spirits to useful causes. A small, charming book. (Fiction. 8+)