Every year, Anna's extended family helps bring the apple harvest in, and so far she hasn't been able to fill a whole bin herself. Now, she's determined to do it, and, sure enough, she reaches her goal. This quiet story is a celebration of family and community; taking time off from work and school, everyone turns out to pick the fruit before it spoils. The text conveys the rhythm of the day-early-morning enthusiasm, dancing to the radio at lunchtime, and afternoon combat with the sharp sun and weariness. The sense of bustle and labor, as well as Anna's determination and satisfaction, are effectively portrayed in Ray's slightly impressionistic, watercolor-and-acrylic paintings. Especially pleasing are the use of light and shadow to mark the changes of the day. White spaces frame the pictures and contribute to the book's quiet mood. It's not clear if the setting is contemporary or historical, but-especially if it's current-the lack of ethnic diversity in the illustrations is jarring. Nonetheless, paired with Arthur Dorros's Radio Man-Don Radio (HarperCollins, 1993) this offering will give a good picture of how kids help bring in the harvest.
Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.