Reviews for The Face at the Window

by Regina Hanson

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Fiction: PB Frightened by the behavior of a mentally disturbed neighbor, Nora worries about imagined consequences after she throws a stone at Miss Nella's door. Set in Jamaica, the lengthy narrative reflects the natural rhythms of island dialect while establishing a strong sense of place. Ably illustrated with soft, colorful pastels, the story conveys a young child's limited understanding of psychological problems. Horn Rating: Recommended, satisfactory in style, content, and/or illustration. Reviewed by: smg (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In a generous story set in Jamaica, Hanson (The Tangerine Tree, 1995) makes some of the same points found in Roni Schotter's Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane (1989), about doing the right thing and getting beyond the fear of the unknown, especially when the unknown is a neighbor. Dora, Lureen, and Trevor are outside Miss Nella's house, trying to knock down the last mangoes of the season with stones. Dora's stone bangs Miss Nella's door; the elderly woman, thought to have dire powers, appears at the window. Lureen and Trevor warn Dora that now something terrible will happen. When pelting rains wrack Dora's house ceaselessly, Dora sees it as a sign: ``De rain never goin' to end. . . . And is all my fault.'' Mammy and Pappy help Dora understand Miss Nella's illness and stand by her when she makes the decision to apologize. The surprise, for readers, is that the woman really is a little scary from a child's perspective, and that Dora is comfortable with her only after witnessing her own parents' tenderness toward Miss Nella. The narrative's lilt and the strict adherence to Dora's point of view give the tale much of its power. Saport's dense, hazy pastel illustrations are by turns foreboding and washed with relief, vibrantly evoking both setting and mood. (Picture book. 6-9)