Book Reviews of Miranda's Smile

Miranda's Smile
Miranda's Smile
Author: Thomas Locker
ISBN-13: 9780803716889
ISBN-10: 0803716885
Publication Date: 9/1/1994
Pages: 32
Edition: 1st ed
Reading Level: Ages 4-8

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Publisher: Dial Books
Book Type: Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Miranda's father is an artist, and she visits his studio to bring him newly baked chocolate-chip cookies. " 'What a wonderful smile you have,' her father said, looking at her affectionately. 'I'd love to paint a picture that captures that special look.' " And so she sits for him. He can't quite get the smile right, though, and becomes increasingly frustrated (" 'I can't do it,' he said in disgust"). As Miranda leaves to give him some privacy, he sees at last that "the smile is in her eyes." Success! Locker ( The Mare on the Hill ; Catskill Eagle ) tells of more than a father's love of his daughter's smile (and her cookies): his story enacts the struggle of creation, though in a fairly conventional way, even suggesting the role of muse for Miranda. The work is abstract, illustrated with pretty scenes of the studio but lacking action--it's an awkward combination of subtle developments and overstated emotions. All ages.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-Miranda's father is an artist. As they share homemade chocolate-chip cookies during one of her regular visits to his studio, he comments on her smile. Before you can say "Mona Lisa," she's posing and he's sketching. But capturing the smile proves difficult, and the problem is compounded when the little girl looses a tooth. Amidst tears (hers) and frowns (his), he discovers the solution: the smile is really in her eyes. All ends well as they bite into a fresh batch of cookies. This is a quiet story. The juxtaposition of one centered paragraph on a white page with a framed, staged composition on the facing page yields a somewhat static result. The figures, however, have a pearl-like glow; enhanced by soft, shadowy backgrounds, they invite lingering looks that synchronize perfectly with the pace of the text. As with all of Locker's titles, whatever their plots, the subject is art. Here, his style evokes 17th-century Dutch portraiture and domestic genre scenes. Present this with Johnny Alcorn's Rembrandt's Beret (Tambourine, 1991) or Diane Stanley's The Gentleman and the Kitchen Maid (Dial, 1994) and Anthea Peppin's People in Art (Millbrook, 1992) for classroom units. One-on-one sharing is sure to bring smiles of delight.
Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.