PETER AND SUSIE FIND A FAMILY by Edith Hess, illustrated by Jacqueline Blass, translated by Miriam Moore (Abingdon: $10.95, ages 7 to 9). After several happy years of marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Findley realize that more than anything in the world they want a family. Their dog, Curly, is a good boy but he's not quite enough. This brightly illustrated story, which has seen two printings in Switzerland and now is available in the United States, tells how the Findleys manage to adopt their babies.
It doesn't answer the question of how much, if anything, adoptive children should know about their natural heritage. The author explains in an afterword that those who learn early on that they are adopted accept the fact more naturally and can bond closely with their parents. Studies show that kids told too late or not at all often feel bitter resentment.
Pride is one thing Peter does know. When a bully at the playground taunts him for not having a real mother, Peter shouts, "I want you to know I am a very special child. My parents chose me out of hundreds of children. Don't you think that means they love me?"
This story is aimed equally at youngsters living with birth parents, so when they enter school and meet adopted classmates, there will be deeper understanding. While this is warm and poignant telling, kids also need to know that families can--and want to--find children who aren't necessarily healthy Caucasian infants as are Peter and Susie.