cover image Roar Like a Dandelion

Roar Like a Dandelion

Ruth Krauss, illus. by Sergio Ruzzier. HarperCollins, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-268007-5

This mischievous abecedarian by the late, celebrated Krauss, author of such classics as A Hole Is to Dig and The Carrot Seed, sat unpublished for decades, until Krauss’s longtime publisher and her estate’s executor agreed that Ruzzier (Good Boy) was just the artist to illustrate it. In single-line poems, Krauss impishly works through the alphabet, writing unexpected commands that poke fun at the tedium of traditional, noun-based ABC fare. Ruzzier extends the surreal mood expertly with subtly hilarious results—his endearing creatures, with their too-big ears and wrinkly snouts, are by turns dignified and joyful as they engage in playful vignettes reminiscent of early Sendak. For E, a pig seated in front of a door, knife and fork at the ready, prepares to “Eat all the locks off the doors.” For I—“Ignore yourself and get mad”—an enraged rabbit gazes at its reflection, which is seated comfortably, eyes closed, within a mirror. In one particularly sublime moment, a beatific dog, arms extended and eyes closed, grasps pinecones, illustrating H’s “Hold your arms out like a little pine tree.” Each page offers its own adventure; taken together, the spreads create an irresistible, deliciously subversive invitation to turn one’s back on the tiresome. And no special equipment is needed to follow the volume’s poetic instructions—just a willingness to “jump like a raindrop,” “kick away the snow and make spring come,” and “nod YES.” Ages 4–8. (Oct.)