cover image GROW UP


Sandy Turner, . . HarperCollins/Cotler, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-000953-3

Turner's (Silent Night) droll, even subversive wit flavors this exploration of a boy's reply to a bald, bow-tied adult's question, "What are you going to be when you grow up?" The book's charm derives from impeccable verbal and visual pacing and a gift for understatement. A pair of inset panels, for instance, display two of the boy's fantasy occupations ("I'm going to be a scientist"; "I'm going to be a dentist") with judiciously applied shades of green (a bow-tie, scrubs) and flesh tones, while the scene below erupts into a full-spread black-and-white drawing: "I'm going to be a hypnotist," he says as he sways an amulet in front of a cat in the lower left-hand corner of the page ("You are mouse," the boy says, and the google-eyed cat repeats obediently, "I am mouse"). An angular line ascends across the gutter to become the summit of Mount Everest ("I'm going to be a mountain climber"), where the boy has planted an American flag. In another spread, Turner groups the vocations thematically: as the boy imagines working on a ferry or flying a jet, an airplane (marked "batteries not included") cuts the spread diagonally across a harbor, while two ferries go "to and fro." Turner retains a child's voice throughout. "I'm going to grow taller I am going to be the world's greatest..." shows the boy towering over the adult, while the next spread completes the rhyme with a spread of the 7'7" "basketballer." The ending reintroduces the adult's voice of reality: "You had better eat up your greens." Turner's juxtaposition of visual sophistication and childhood insouciance is not to be missed. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)