Ready, Set, Skip!
T he likable young narrator of O'Connor's (Fancy Nancy ) buoyant tale first admits what she can't do: “I can't skip. I wish I could. Other kids are really good.” But she is mighty proud of what she can do: “I can leap. I can creep. Can I twirl? Just watch this girl.” Rollerskating, whistling and somersaulting are some of the other feats she proudly demonstrates. When she reiterates that she can't skip (endearingly adding, “It's not my fault.”), her mother asks her if she can hop. The gal gleefully shows off her hopping prowess and her parent instructs her to hop first on one foot and then on the other: “That is skipping.” The woman then shows how it is done as the girl wryly observes, “Down the street I watch Mom go. She's pretty old to skip, I know.” Making sure there are no kids watching, the exuberant child gives skipping a try and adds another accomplishment to her repertoire—she even skips right past her mother. James's (the Penny Pollard series) unadorned illustrations convey the heroine's changeable emotions and abundant energy as she struts her stuff, accompanied by her perky pooch. The tale's simple text and breezy rhyme makes this a good choice for reading aloud to preschoolers or for readers just starting to sound out words. But grownups beware: youngsters will surely be tempted to mimic the high-spirited girl's antics, so they shouldn't be expected to sit still. Ages 4-up. (May)