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About the Author

QUENTIN BLAKE is Britain's leading illustrator, and was chosen as the first Children's Laureate.


PreS-Gr 1 One day, George and Bella receive a package containing "a little pink creature," which, anyone can see, is a baby. It is labeled "Zagazoo." They love him and continue to enjoy life until their Zagazoo starts changing into other animals (a baby vulture, an elephant, a warthog, etc.) and they are very unhappy. Adults will quickly realize that the child is going through different stages of development, but young readers probably won't get the idea. Finally, the creature changes into a "young man with perfect manners." He is wonderful to have around, and soon he meets a young lady with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life. However, when they go to tell George and Bella their plans, they find that the older couple have turned into large brown pelicans. This is a curious story with Blake's usual quirky illustrations, and what it is saying is anyone's guess. The plot is thin and the subtlety will be quite beyond most children. Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Blake's (Clown) meditation on the stages of childhood introduces George and Bella, a "happy couple" who receive a brightly wrapped package in the mail. Opening it, the seemingly clueless duo discovers "a little pink creature, as pretty as could be"; an accompanying label identifies the baby as "Zagazoo." Blake's characteristically whimsical watercolors show the two (in a rather reckless pastime) spending "happy days throwing it from one to the other." Then one day the parents awaken to find that Zagazoo has morphed into a screeching baby vulture. The infant's subsequent and alternating identities include a mud-tracking warthog, a fire-breathing dragon and a wailing bat. In adolescence, the fellow turns into a hairy creature, then a young man with "perfect manners" who falls in love with a young woman. When Zagazoo and his beloved go to tell his parents that they wish to marry, the story abruptly switches perspective: the young couple finds that George and Bella have changed into a pair of pelicans. "Isn't life amazing!" concludes Blake's chimerical commentary on the phases of life. Youngsters may find this more puzzling than amazing; it's adult Blake devotees who will most appreciate this quirky tale. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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