David Lucas, Author . Knopf $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-375-82690-0

Bluebirds wearing crowns soar overhead, pineapples spring from the ground and Indian women draped in saris look on as Lucas's (Shaggy and Spotty ) shy hero triumphs over his fear of being noticed. Halibut Jackson likes "to blend into the background." Light-hearted, economical ink-and-wash spreads show the hero in camouflage that literally achieves that goal; in one ink-and-wash spread, he leans against a brick wall in town, his huge hat and almost hemispherically shaped coat printed with red and orange bricks. In another, he stands in front of a library bookshelf, his hat and coat this time striped with book-width bands of color. When Halibut receives an invitation to the palace, he worries about going until it occurs to him to make himself a bejeweled hat and coat to match the palace walls. The event turns out to be a garden party, however, and Halibut stands out like a beacon. But the attention proves agreeable—everyone begs for a gem-encrusted suit just like his. "Now Halibut Jackson had friends," concludes the narrator with satisfaction. "Now Halibut Jackson had plenty to do." The pure fancy of Halibut's world distinguishes Lucas's first solo effort: blue horses trot through town, trees sprout marvelous fruit and shy chaps named for fish receive invitations from the Queen. Halibut may prefer to hide, but kids will immediately recognize the authenticity of his feelings. Ages 3-8. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Library Binding - 1 pages - 978-0-375-92690-7
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