Egan's (Roasted Peanuts
) contemplative picture books, including this story of inspiration, suit jaded adults as well as children. Thrift shop owner Dodsworth, whose tidy gray pelt and skinny tail make him resemble a heavy-set rat, likes relaxing. "His motto was basically 'Try to do as little as possible,' " although his house and store are well-kept and painted in a comfy, mellow Arts and Crafts palette. He supports himself with leisurely trips to the junkyard, where he picks up things to clean and resell. One day, he notices a rusty pink refrigerator among the discards, and admires the globe-shaped bronze magnet on its door. Underneath the magnet, which sticks despite his efforts to pry it loose, hangs a scrap of paper reading, "Make pictures." Dodsworth opens the fridge to find "a beautiful assortment of paints and brushes and a little red sketchbook." He plans to hawk the items, but on a whim he decides to paint. The next day, the magnet's note says, "Read more," and the fridge is packed with books. Subsequent visits yield fresh advice and necessary supplies. Egan's fastidious, round-edged tracings and soothing, even watercolor hues serve well his unhurried tales, which unfold in a calm, homespun fashion. This volume, like Oh, the Places You'll Go!
, urges a young crowd to seek experience, while counseling sedentary adults to create meaningful lives. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)