The Ring Went Zing! A Story That Ends with a Kiss

Sean Taylor, Author, Jill Barton, Illustrator
Sean Taylor, illus. by Jill Barton, Dial, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3311-4
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Right from the title, Taylor (Crocodiles Are the Best Animals of All!) promises a happy ending for this irrepressible frogwins-chicken-but-loses-ring story. But getting there isn't easy. "[D]on't worry," the author reassures readers who've just watched the adoring frog and chicken ("so woozled with love") fumble their golden ring, which bounces away into the distance, "the story will still end with a kiss." Barton (It's Quacking Time) shows similar consideration; as the ring bounces from place to place, her pencil and watercolor vignettes quiver with activity, yet colors stay soft, faces friendly, and the sequence of events clear. Animals on various vehicles are recruited to join the chase, not always successfully: "The sausage dog looked like he knew what to do./ In actual fact, he hadn't a clue." Taylor's rhyming prose mimics the bouncing ring with lots of delicious sound words thrown in ("The goat saw something whirr with a whizz./ But it came so fast, she got in a tizz"); a small surprise ending crowns the adventure. A love story that's long on charm and entirely free of mush. Ages 3–5. (June)
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