MONSIEUR SAGUETTE AND HIS BAGUETTE

Frank Asch, Author, Frank Asch, Illustrator . Kids Can $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55337-461-9

"Not by bread alone," goes the old saying, but tell that to Monsieur Saguette, who needs only a skinny loaf of French bread—fresh from the boulangerie—to handle any size calamity with the coolness of le concombre . He prevents a fugitive alligator from making an amuse-bouche of a baby by turning the baguette into a wedge between the reptile's menacing jaws, and stops a robbery by fooling the rogue into thinking that the baguette is a gun in his back. And when the beret-clad hero ultimately finds himself in a French sewer, the baguette once more pulls through for him—this time, literally. Asch's (Ziggy Piggy and the Three Little Pigs ) digitally rendered tableaux, with their slightly flattened perspectives, crisp outlines and muted colors, make the perfect deadpan foil for his sublimely silly tale, and almost every page has something laugh-out-loud funny: another improbable situation, a goofy punch line ("Gurgle, gurgle," says the sewer after Monsieur Saguette is extracted), a visual tickle (a spot illustration shows the baguette poking through the opening of the sewer, with the hero's quintessentially French neckerchief attached as a signal for help). Grown-ups may find themselves involuntarily emitting an "Ewww!" at the sight of Monsieur Saguette triumphantly consuming the battle-worn baguette at story's end. But youngsters won't bat an eye, and should proclaim, "C'est magnifique!" Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
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