The Practically Perfect Pajamas

Erik Brooks, Author
Erik Brooks, Author Winslowhouse International $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-890817-22-0
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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First-time picture book author and artist Brooks pens an optimistic tale of a polar bear shunned by his peers for wearing PJs but who ultimately wins over his detractors. Devoted to his footed pajamas, Percy takes a lot of flak from his fellow bears for wearing them. They call him ""fancy pants"" and ask, ""Why can't you be more like the rest of us?"" So Percy puts his jammies away, but finds life without them miserable; plus, the other bears gang up and push him into the sea. In a somewhat simplistic ending, an arctic fox who admires Percy comes up with a plan to distribute pajamas to everyone (""Someone has been living right!"" one of the bears concedes). Percy is an amiable protagonist, but he resembles an adult more than a child (he adopts a sophisticated stance, his face has a wizened look, and he reads the paper in bed). The watercolor and colored pencil close-up illustrations are the strongest; the larger compositions tend to lose focus and make the bears look cartoonish, undermining the tension between the protagonist and the other polar bears. Even though the ending isn't entirely convincing, the picture of the ursine cast donning super-sized pajamas in a selection of wild prints (daisies, clown stripes, circus and outer space motifs) add a fillip of fun. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
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