K-Gr 2-Oh, the spotlight's double-edged sword! Phoebe, a Peewee Majorette, savors the thought of marching in the town's Fourth of July parade. She cannot resist pointing out to her teasing brothers their lowly status as spectator while she will high-step down Main Street. At the moment she passes her family, her admiration of the older girls' accomplished stunts overwhelms her. On impulse, the overconfident little marcher hurls her baton high into the air. Poised to catch it and thrill the bystanders, she is horrified when it sails out of sight and is stung by the crowd's laughter. Her shame is soothed by the gentle reaction of her brothers, and the siblings board the passing fire engine to finish the parade together. This is a tale of familiar rivalry balanced by children's love and loyalty. Ewing's detailed watercolor illustrations have a bit of Norman Rockwell's small-town idealism, but provide a pleasant backdrop for the action. The townsfolk represent an ethnic blend. Prereaders will enjoy listening to Phoebe's foibles and empathize with her embarrassment. Accomplished beginners will manage the text well.-Virginia E. Jeschelnig, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH
A Fourth of July parade provides the backdrop for this simple saga of sibling rivalry and support. Phoebe's proud of marching in the parade as a Peewee Majorette, though it stings when her older brother teases her about her baton: "You're not even throwing it up in the air. You're just carrying it, like a dumb old stick." In the parade, Phoebe casts caution to the wind and tosses her baton up, only to have it sail over the crowds, to their amusement and her shame. Relieved that her brothers aren't openly laughing at her, she forgives them for teasing earlier and shares the glory when a fire fighter offers her a ride on the fire engine in the parade. Fine-tuning the emotional level to that of her audience, Mills creates a satisfying story that has just enough punch to raise it above the run-of-the-mill holiday picture book. Ewing's appealing illustrations, ink drawings with bright watercolor washes, create a festive spirit appropriate to the setting.