Call Me Gorgeous!

Giles Milton, Author, Alexandra Milton, Illustrator , illus. by Alexandra Milton. Boxer $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-906250-71-3

A Franken-animal gradually offers a self-portrait by describing each of its striking physical characteristics, which are borrowed from recognizable animals. Next to each line of text (“I've got reindeer antlers”) are beguiling textural close-ups of each feature, created with colored pencil and lush handmade papers. The animal's pig's ears are wispy and fibrous, and a “flamingo's neck,” in marbled pinks and oranges, resembles luridly vibrant cotton candy. Additionally, the creature has a porcupine's spines, the beak of a toucan, and charcoal bat wings. The Miltons, a husband-and-wife team, don't have a surprise ending in store in their debut children's book. What you see is what you get, and in this case, it's a “reinde-piggy-porcu-croco-touca-flami-roos-dalma-chameleo-bat-frog,” a tongue-twister that will have kids in stitches. The enthusiastic hybrid creature, finally seen in full on the final page, delivers the closing quip, “But you can call me gorgeous!” After all the suspense, the sum of its parts might not be as dramatic as some might have hoped, but this unique book is as fun and brassy as it is visually striking. Ages 3–6. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
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