What If Everything Had Legs?

Scott Menchin. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4220-4
Not even the promise of cupcakes can buoy the spirits of a girl faced with a long walk home with her mother. What does the trick, however, is a question as pragmatic as it is absurd: "Mom, why can't the house have legs and walk to us?" Her mother answers, "Because then cupcakes could have legs and run away!" and the next spread shows the girl and a gang of friends pursuing a giant, photographic cupcake with a pair of cartoon human legs. Menchin's figures have the wide eyes and stiff limbs of people in Egyptian friezes; they look nearly as otherworldly as the (now animate) inanimate objects they're imagining. But kids will enjoy the leggy possibilities: a rock with patched pants braces itself against a slope as mother and daughter try pushing it downhill ("Rocks wouldn't roll"), while a huge dinner roll sporting bellbottoms grooves under a disco ball ("But rolls could rock!"). "Guess what, Mom?" says the girl, as a Lego piece and teacup dance in her window at journey's end. "I'm not tired anymore!" It's a bubbly thought exercise that should inspire similar flights of fancy. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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