Terrible Teresa and Other Very Short Stories

Mittie Cuetara, Author, Mittie Cuetara, Illustrator
Mittie Cuetara, Author, Mittie Cuetara, Illustrator Dutton Books $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-45768-8
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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Each spread in Cuetara's debut picture book presents a giddy ""short story"" told in an abbreviated, comic-book style with four vignette panels and a corresponding short line of (often nonsensical) verse. ""Outer Space"" explains that ""Edie went to outer space./ She found a strange and different race./ Although it seemed a friendly place,/ She brought her mommy, just in case."" In the series of simple wash sketches that accompany these lines, Edie steers a rocket and amiable three-eyed aliens wave hello. Likewise, the title tale accuses, ""Did you make the baby wail?/ Did you leave a sticky trail?/ Did you pull the kitty's tail?/ You must go to baby jail!"" After three scenes of misbehavior, Terrible Teresa glowers from between her playpen's bars, and a thought bubble above her head exclaims, ""Rats!"" Despite the repetitive format, Cuetara's style remains engaging. Her hand-lettered text and uncomplicated pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings convey a casual attitude. A table of contents lays bare the array of silly subjects, from a precocious goldfish to Fred, a boy who ""hates to go to bed./ He hides out in the shed/ and stays awake instead."" This volume of concise tales will be especially welcome for parents of children like Fred who, at bedtime, beg for just one more. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)
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