The author and illustrator who produced Santa Cows here create a nostalgic, nursery-room Eden of Ferris wheels and fireworks. Shawnee Bill, summertime's answer to Saint Nick, runs his celebrated ``carrousel'' sic at the North Valley Carnival every Fourth of July. At midnight, after the swing band, the sideshow and the rides have closed down, he heads out of the fairgrounds and magically frees his merry-go-round animals--the ``beautiful black swan,'' ``burly brown bear,'' ``glorious green tiger'' et al. ``You see, he has not forgotten the babes, too young to come to the carnival,'' the narrator cozily confides. The town's infants wake to ride the carousel creatures through idyllic fields of wildflowers for 10 textless pages. In Lane's colored pencil artwork, cool breezes whisper through purple thickets, and a grove of silver birch trees glints in the moonlight. Sweet as a taffy apple. Ages 3-6. (May)
PreS-K-Both nostalgic adults and youngsters will enjoy this gentle, somewhat romantic fantasy about Shawnee Bill, a friendly, Santalike character in a cowboy hat, and the carrousel he brings each year to the North Valley Fourth of July carnival. At midnight, the festivities end and the magic begins-Shawnee Bill sets his carrousel animals free. They seek out the sleeping ``babes'' too young to visit the fair and invite them for a moonlight ride. Several wordless pages follow, showing a multiethnic cast of babies riding through the countryside. At dawn, the children are returned to their homes, and Bill and his animals hide away until next year. Lane's soft, full-color illustrations appear to be done predominantly in watercolor and colored pencil. They complement the dreamy, magic-a-foot quality of the simple text. In all, a pleasant choice for bedtime sharing.-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
On the Fourth of July, Shawnee Bill brings his Enchanted Five-Ride Carrousel (idiosyncratically spelled by choice, we assume) to North Valley's carnival. Its magic begins when everyone thinks Bill has hitched up the carousel to his wood-paneled station wagon and left town. But Bill has not forgotten young children who slept in their cribs. With a wink and a whistle, the carousel animals come to life, each seeking out a toddler for a wordless romp through a moonlit evening. At sunrise, Bill and the animals retire to the secret hideout to be seen only in children's dreams until the next Fourth of July. The animals appear softer looking than the usual varnished merry-go-round variety, but the pictures catch the familiar ready-for-motion carousel animal poses. Although the story is slight, its premise will excite children still too young to ride.