One spring day, a button falls off Mrs. Moffatt's new red wool coat and lands in the raspberry bushes of her neighbor, Mr. Peterson. The loss goes unnoticed, the coat is put away and, as the friendship between the widow and widower grows, the button begins a serendipitous circuit of the neighborhoodpicked up by a schoolgirl, worn to the beach in summer as swimsuit adornment, carried by a crow to a nest near its starting placearriving back on Mr. Peterson's garden path the day Mrs. Moffatt accepts his proposal, and just as her coat is needed again for winter. Divided into 10 chapters, Dragonwagon's (Home Place) story is neatly told and has a satisfying circularity to it, although the pacing lags as the outcome becomes increasingly obvious. Paradise elaborates on the tale's inherent sweetness, crafting a cozy if white-bread world of picket fences, broad sidewalks and verdant gardens all captured in color-drenched gouaches. Perhaps in homage to Mr. Peterson's career as an architect, she paints many of her compositions in the shape of architectural details (e.g., columns or arches surrounding the text, a panel shaped like an altarpiece to face the description of Mr. Peterson and Mrs. Moffatt's wedding). The effect comes to seem a little manneredwhich is, after all, in keeping with the highly tailored story. Ages 5-9. (May)
Here's a tale of lost and found. Mrs. Moffat, an art teacher, has lost a shiny brass button from her new red coat. Her neighbor, Mr. Peterson is an architect who has lost his wife and his desire to design buildings. In sympathy with both their needs, the forces of Nature work their natural magic to help these amiable characters find what they are missing. Charming full-color illustrations are arranged around a text that's been organized into chapters to create an illustrated novel that will appeal to both the picture book and the beginning chapter book audience.
K-Gr 3Two parallel stories are rolled into one in this satisfying picture book. The first follows the adventures of a large brass button that is accidentally pulled off Mrs. Moffatt's beautiful new red coat; the second describes the romance that develops between Mrs. Moffatt and her recently widowed neighbor, Mr. Peterson. The button travels around the neighborhood from early spring until late autumn; it rolls under a bush, is swept down a rain-filled gully, goes from one house to another in a backpack, and is flown into a crow's nest. The autumn winds finally bring it back to its starting point, on Mr. Peterson's sidewalk. Meanwhile, Mrs. Moffatt and Mr. Peterson become better acquainted through frequent and interesting conversations over good meals. It is heartening to watch these two older people fall in love as their interests and their respect for one another bring them closer together. The story culminates in a joyful wedding. The design of the book is especially appealing, with short chapters and varied layouts of text and artwork. The full-page, gouache paintings are richly colored and the smaller illustrations, framing the text on the opposite page, show interesting details about the community in which the couple lives, as well as the many good hiding places for the traveling button. A charming story for the young at heart to share with the young.Virginia Golodetz, St. Michael's College, Winooski, VT