Goodnight Opus

Berkeley Breathed, Author Little Brown and Company $15.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-316-10853-9
Through characteristically snappy wordplay, cartoonist Breathed ( The Last Basselope ) introduces a true ``goodnight opus'' that's both bedtime tale and vehicle for his own Opus the penguin. According to a self-consciously whimsical narrative--whose rhyme structure strongly resembles that of `` 'Twas the Night Before Christmas''--Opus slips into ``pink bunny jammies'' and listens to his grandmother reciting his favorite story. However, when Grandma dozes off, a mischievous Opus admits, ``I departed the text.'' Here, black-and-white illustrations give way to arresting technicolor a la The Wizard of Oz . Opus joins a mouse, a helium-balloon-headed pillow and a gargatuan purple critter on a flying tricycle to bid sweet dreams to the holsteins in the Milky Way (has someone been reading Gary Larson's Cows of Our Planet? ). Breathed demonstrates his airbrush mastery with stark color contrasts and luminescent spreads that fairly pop off the page. Nevertheless, he delivers his message--to ``depart the text'' of ordinary life for flights of fancy--in florid language that young readers may find opaque; beneath the window dressing, his clear attempt to woo the Dr. Seuss crowd seems soulless. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993
Release date: 10/01/1993
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