The Little Pickpocket

Avner Katz, Author
Avner Katz, Author Simon & Schuster $15 (1p) ISBN 978-0-689-80494-6
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A young kangaroo-named Joey, of course-leaves his mother's pouch in this predictable tale by an Israeli winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Joey can't get any sleep with his parents talking, and thinks he can pick (as in ""choose"") a quieter pocket in which to rest. After visiting a woman's crowded purse, riding in the jacket of ""a rascally little boy"" and overhearing a lullaby played by a fiddler, however, Joey grows homesick and bounds back to his mother, who has ""the best pocket in the whole wide world."" Aside from the title's wordplay, the use of language is merely workmanlike. The muddy acrylic paintings are an ungainly blend of cartoons and mock-realism: Joey's simplified, rounded shape and pinkish fur contrast with naturalistic trees and stormy skies, while the images of humans range from well-proportioned to caricaturish. Even readers who don't object to the artwork will wonder why almost none of the characters notice Joey when he climbs into their coats. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
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