Anthony and the Girls

Ole Konnecke, Author, Nancy Seitz, Translator , trans. from the German by Nancy Seitz. FSG $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-30376-1

Könnecke's humorous tale may be short on words, but it packs a lot into its pages. This age-old story of boy trying to impress girl takes place at the sandbox. "Anthony is cool," reads the text, as the hero, equipped with toys, takes a sidelong glance at readers and approaches two girls building sand castles. A limited palette of reds and golds, and a precisely applied fine black line keep the focus on the characters and on the wry humor inherent in the situation. Tongue-in-cheek captions will entertain adults as much as children ("Anthony has a really big car"). The boy shows off with a series of tricks, from jumping to lifting heavy objects... but to no avail. Könnecke's characters bear a slight resemblance to those of Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts—perhaps not so unintentional, considering Charlie Brown's oftentimes awkward exchanges with his female peers. The comic book-like drawings add spice to a playful story line in which the hero attempts some daredevil feats with rising stakes: "Anthony can go down the slide headfirst, on his stomach. Eyes closed. But the girls still don't look." In a warmhearted twist, readers learn that Anthony didn't need to prove anything at all to gain their attentions. A closing spread depicts a boy with an even larger hat, bucket and car approaching the sandbox; youngsters can only imagine what will happen next. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/20/2006
Release date: 02/01/2006
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