fiction favorites…Seven Kisses in a Row

Seven Kisses in a Row, by Patricia MacLachlan, pictures by Maria Pia Marrella

The morning sun came through the window curtains and made lace designs on Emma’s bed.  She got up and went to her parents’ bedroom. 
“It’s morning,” she called through the door. “It’s time for divided grapefruit with a cherry in the middle.”
There was no answer.
Emma opened the door and looked in.  She had forgotten.  Her mother and father were away for five days.  Her father was an eyeball doctor, though he called it something else.  He and her mother had gone to an eyeball meeting.  Her aunt and uncle were sleeping in her parents’ bed…
It wasn’t fair, Emma thought, for her parents to go away and leave her with an aunt and uncle she hardly knew…What if they didn’t like children?  They probably didn’t know anything at all about night lights and bad dreams and telling two whole stories before bedtime and no eggplant cooked in tomatoes.

Emma’s Uncle Elliot and Aunt Evelyn have no children of their own…yet, and Emma is quite concerned that they will not manage at all well while her parents are away.  Items such as divided grapefruit with a cherry in the middle, and seven kisses in a row from Papa, just are not on their radar screens.   Another thing:  they’ve come with a new set of rules — rules about exercising, and eating your broccoli, and –gasp! — cleaning your bedroom!

As the days tick past, however, Emma grows quite fond of these two, with Aunt Evelyn’s stories about falling into fluttery-bubbly love with Uncle Elliot, and Uncle Elliot’s conspiracy to protect Emma’s vast collection of stuffed animals from Evelyn’s cleaning mandate.  Meanwhile, the secret of a new baby on the way is revealed, and Emma gets to work teaching Uncle Elliot daddy-lessons, and advising Aunt Evelyn on the purple-spangly baby booties she’s knitting.  Throw in a night in the tent to avoid various terrors in Emma’s bedroom, clothes-folding lessons, and some cherry glimmer ice cream, and you’ve got quite an eventful five days.

Patricia MacLachlan, author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, has given us a sweetly-funny, charming story here.  Very short chapters, completely engaging characters, and a loving portrayal of family.  Great for reading aloud to young listeners, or for 6-9 year-old girls looking for a slim, easy-to-read chapter book.

Amazon link: Seven Kisses in a Row (Charlotte Zolotow Books)