The Transmogrification of Roscoe Wizzle ) motley medley of one-liners, Hazel Nutt stars as a tomboyish scientist, with the requisite lab coat an"/>

HAZEL NUTT, MAD SCIENTIST

David Elliott, Author, True Kelley, Illustrator , illus. by True Kelley. Holiday $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1711-7

In Elliott's (The Transmogrification of Roscoe Wizzle ) motley medley of one-liners, Hazel Nutt stars as a tomboyish scientist, with the requisite lab coat and shock of black hair. "Of course I'm mad!" she admits. "Igor ate my sandwich!" Igor, her boy assistant, has two heads, one with red curls, the other with spiked purple hair and punky shades. "Two heads are a lot better than one," he says. He helps Hazel attach a vampire's head to an opera singer's body, creating "Dracula-la-la!" Meanwhile, in the town of Hamburg-with-Ketchup, villagers plot to "storm Nutt's laboratory" in classic style, brandishing torches despite a child's complaint that "Flashlights were invented years ago." Just in time, Hazel joins a monster with a piano to produce "Frankensteinway!" who calms the townsfolk by performing with Dracula-la-la. (Whether or not youngsters will get the brand-name joke, which arrives at the climactic moment, is unclear.) Kelley's (Three Stories You Can Read to Your Cat ) watercolor cartoons include such incidentals as Hazel's supply cabinet, which contains the strange ("Furry Formula"; fingernails, located next to the thumbtacks) and the mundane (shampoo). Sight gags range from "time flies" buzzing around a clock, to the pink hands on Hazel's "arm chair" and the feet on her "foot stool"; and the transmonsterfied piano is a hoot. Neither the wordplay nor the giddy visuals generate much momentum, but readers who love a pun, no matter how atrocious, might enjoy this silly invention. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/13/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
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