Dr. Pompo's Nose

Saxton Freymann, Author, Joost Elffers, Joint Author Arthur A. Levine Books $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-11013-6
Vegetable wranglers Freymann and Elffers, who photographed anonymous produce in How Are You Peeling?, stage an all-pumpkin performance. In this rhyming conversation, a seven-squash ensemble led by the round, orange Dr. Pompo discovers a disembodied ""nose."" The nose looks an awful lot like a stem. In fact, woody stem-schnozzolas protrude from between the characters' cut-out eyes. But the doctor's friends argue about the object's origin until someone arrives with a conspicuous gap above her mouth and a stuffed-up voice: ""`Good Hebbens,' said Ms. Sniffen, `and how do you subboze/ I lost it ober dare?... Please Doctor, help be wid by doze!'"" Plot is not Freymann and Elffers's strong suit, nor does it matter much. The real fun comes from figuring out how the bumpy, wrinkly protagonists change their facial expressions. The artists photograph the extroverted Dr. Pompo, skeptical Uncle Wrinkle and unripe, earnest little Sarah B. from all angles, at all stages of carving. The same pumpkin can wink an eye, gape or turn a small frown into a maniacal smile; it can appear lemon-size or grapefruit-size on the page, its orange skin complemented by a brilliant turquoise or lilac backdrop. Moveable beans serve as beady eyes, and the talking heads shift their gazes from page to page. Freymann and Elffers considerably prolong the shelf life of these seven fresh faces; their animation is so effective that readers may believe an ordinary, featureless pumpkin is merely squeezing its eyes shut. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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