The late Ogden Nash's (Custard and Company) wordplayful 1936 rhyme gets a fresh start with timeless illustrations by Munsinger (Ho for a Hat!; One Hungry Monster). Title character Custard, the ``realio, trulio little pet dragon,'' lives with young Belinda, her dog Mustard, her cat Ink and her mouse Blink; while these housemates boast of their brave deeds, cowardly Custard cries for ``a nice safe cage.'' Yet when a pirate invades their home, the smaller pets desert Belinda (``Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,/ And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed''), and Custard courageously saves the day. Munsinger's watercolor-and-ink cartoons have a classic quality: Ink the cat appears Victorian, and there's a trace of John Tenniel's designs in pug-nosed, striped-hose-wearing Belinda. Custard is a little more up to date--like a lime-green beanbag with slender purple wings--and his moment of bravery reminds ``fearless'' readers of the purpose of guardians in a sometimes scary world. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995 Release date: 04/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
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