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The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders


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About the Author

Jack Prelutsky is the best-selling author of more than fifty books of poetry, including The New Kid on the Block, illustrated by James Stevenson, and Stardines Swim High Across the Sky, illustrated by Carin Berger. Jack Prelutsky lives in Washington State. Petra Mathers is the creator of many award-winning books for children, including Lottie's New Friend and Sophie and Lou. She lives in Astoria, Oregon.


Prelutsky (Awful Ogre's Awful Day) trades his usual giddy hilarity for a tone of gentler glee in this collection of verse. Loosely knit together by U.S. geography, the 28 poems alight everywhere from Tuscaloosa to El Paso, Winnemucca to the Grand Canyon. In the Pacific Northwest, for instance, "Seattle is lovely,/ but I cannot lieD/ without an umbrella/ it's hard to stay dry." The rhymes flow easily, set to a consistently bouncy beat that makes reading them aloud effortless ("Baby in a high chair,/ baby in a bib,/ baby in a stroller,/ baby in a crib"). Mathers's (Lottie's New Beach Towel) watercolors exude a puckish charm well-matched to the nimble wordplay, and she lets loose a menagerie of her trademark sprightly animals, often fleshing out the situations in the poems. In "Carpenter, Carpenter," for instance, a mouse couple enlists the help of a builder to construct their house for the price of a cheese; the artist completes the tale by showing the couple, now with two additions, enjoying the reward with the carpenter at their kitchen table, their completed home emulating the shape and color of the prize cheese. In another, "There Was a Tiny Baker," Mathers chronicles the baker's day from sun-up to day's end, as he shares a cookie with his pet mouse. There's plenty of zip in this nifty outing. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

PreS-Gr 3-The prolific poet is back with an illustrator who matches him in freshness and simplicity. The poems offer vivid glimpses of life; have a beginning, middle, and end; and have a clear underlying music and flow. The selections are for a slightly younger audience than much of Prelutsky's work: some poems are as simple as Mother Goose rhymes ("Baby in a high chair,/baby in a bib,/baby in a stroller,/baby in a crib"), while others would make great flannelboard rhymes for sharing with four- and five-year-olds ("In her garden, Sarah Small/grows galoshes, short and tall./Shirts of yellow, hats of red/beautify her flower bed"). Many of the 28 poems play with American place names, from Tuscaloosa to Tucumcari, and might enliven a geography lesson. Mathers's wonderful watercolors highlight her talents for color and expression. Her treatment of light is lovely, especially in her delicate and exquisite skies, while the comic dignity of some of her creatures, such as the frogs in red suspenders, suits Prelutsky's mood just right. A superb choice.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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