Attempting to tackle the weighty topic of losing a loved one to AIDS, Quinlan ( Anna's Red Sled ) produces a book full of good intentions but marred by evasions. Her story centers on Joel, who copes with his grief at his uncle Michael's death by recalling the happy times they shared, including visiting the zoo, creating a picture book and planting a garden of tiger lilies (the ``tiger flowers'' of the equivocal title). While it is stated early on that Michael had AIDS, the disease and its effects are mentioned only twice, once in a tacked-on, indirect statement about its transmission (``He told me that I couldn't catch AIDS by being near him the way I caught the chicken pox from Tara''). Equally vague is the relationship between Michael and his ``best friend,'' a young man who has also died of AIDS. On one level, this is a simple, warm story about the power of love and remembrance to overcome pain, with Wilson's ( Daniel's Dogs ) sunny, color- and light-filled paintings mirroring Joel's fond memories. But the timid, side-stepping approach to the complex issues of AIDS and homosexuality is likely to raise more questions than it answers. Ages 5-up. (May)
PreS-Gr 2-A sensitive look at a young boy's adjustment to the recent loss of his beloved uncle, who died of AIDS. Joel attempts to explain Michael's absence to his three-year-old sister, Tara, and finds solace in looking back over the happy times they shared-building a tree house, planting tiger lilies in the garden, going to baseball games. The text deals in simple terms with the basic realities of the disease, but the emphasis here placed on the boy's relationship with his uncle. Wilson's illustrations are beautifully done, primarily in apple greens, yellows, and oranges; they are full of sunshine and hope, and underline the family's love and closeness. A compassionate book.-Judy Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
nger for reading aloud. Joel is grieving for his favorite uncle, Michael, who has recently died of an AIDS-related illness. The story consists of Joel's memories of his uncle helping him build a tree house, gardening with Michael, and going to a baseball game with him and his friend Peter, who has also died from an AIDS-related illness. Joel's grief is immediate and real: "I told my mom that sometimes when I think about Michael, I feel like I'm in a cold, lonely place inside me." Joel's mother assures him that she feels the same way sometimes but that "after a while it will hurt less." One sleepless night Joel climbs into his tree house and watches the sun come up on the tiger lilies he and Michael had planted in the garden. He climbs down and picks a flower for his little sister. "The tiger flowers were Michael's favorite," he tells her; "they'll always be my favorite too." Wilson's watercolors are sunny and open, reflecting good cheer and fond memories. This is a fine addition to parenting collections, and one of a very few titles to address this very real issue for today's children.