A fib made right paves the way to intergenerational friendship.
When Miss Finn gets rid of a bunch of boxes (presumably to recycle them, though this detail is unexplained), her young neighbor and his dog seize an opportunity for imaginary play. The scene showing the elderly woman carrying the boxes out on the lawn depicts her as rather fearsome, or at least cranky, and the boy and his dog look on with rather alarmed expressions. When she is safely gone, they exuberantly pretend the boxes are a train, a race car and a jet. The controlled text unfortunately fails to match their ebullience and comes across as stilted in its efforts to employ repetition. “Then we played a race car game. We went fast, fast, fast.” Miss Finn then reappears, arms waving and red all over, dismayed by the mess. It’s hard to blame the boy for fibbing and blaming the wind, and the fib doesn’t seem all that big, which undermines the story a bit. After watching her struggle to pick up the boxes, he comes clean and offers help, prompting Miss Finn to laud his honesty and change her tune. Hamilton’s cartoonish, multimedia art reflects her changed affect by softening her expression as she serves milk and cookies and hunkers down to play with the boy and his dog amid the tidied boxes.
A sweet, if uneven, story. (Early reader. 5-7)