By Linda Ravin Lodding, Illustrated by Alison Jay
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 32 pages
Oskar is on a quest to find the perfect gift for his Mama’s birthday, but he has only a single coin. As he is meandering through the streets of Vienna, he notices a beautiful yellow rose. He buys the rose and is heading for home when he is stopped by a painter who exclaims the rose would be perfect for his painting. Oskar trades the painter a horsehair paintbrush for the yellow rose. Next, he meets a conductor who needs a baton (and a paintbrush will suffice), so Oskar trades him for a sheet of music. The trades continue until Oskar ambles home with his final trade of candied violets from the Empress, the perfect gift for his Mama. Close to home, however, he meets a crying girl who needs a present her own mother. Oskar gives her his candy, but he now has nothing for his Mama. He is running home in the dark when he suddenly meets the crying girl again. She hands him the yellow rose, and Oskar races home to give his Mama the perfect gift.
This is an impeccable story about generosity and thoughtfulness. Your child will be enchanted by the trades, wondering where the story will end up. Alison Jay’s illustrations are whimsical, and your child will look at sharing in an entirely new light.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff