Keith Graves, Author . Scholastic $16.95 (36p) ISBN 978-0-439-24083-3

Graves employs the palette and outrageous humor of his Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance for this nutty volume. "OK, so I'm Uncle Blubbafink. Hello already," growls the title character, a prunish purple guy with a black-and-white-striped elephant trunk and pigeon feet. Blubbafink launches into a nonsense story called "Abraham Sandwich and George Washing Machine," in which a guy in a stovepipe hat (known as "Honest Ham," not "Abe") gets angry when George chops down his ham trees. Next, Blubbafink recounts "The Legend of Smoky the Volcano," about a ferrous-red "volcano pup" who grows too big to keep: "I took Smoky back to his natural habitat and set him free." In another tale he explains that cows say "moo" because they come from the moon. The gnomish Blubbafink appears as both raconteur and actor in the grainy, absurd images, painted in a palette of bilious green and plum violet. Deadpan storybook titles, like "The Dragon Whose Head Was a Station Wagon," juxtapose familiar characters and bizarre elements; variable typefaces blare across the pages, adding to the cacophony. This absurd quartet of tales will appeal to those who find Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith a little too logical. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/13/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
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