Merl and Jasper's Supper Caper

Laura Rankin, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $16 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-88105-6
Magic-marker sketches and fairy-tale characters come to life in this inventive, fully realized tale. Merl the cat and Jasper the dog are ink doodles, seated at a table, forks at the ready. When Ann, who has drawn them, is called to dinner before sketching food on their plates, a gust of wind blows the black-and-white cartoon twosome off the page and into Ann's full-color bedroom, where they hope to fill their bellies. As two-dimensional characters, they naturally seek snacks on the pages of picture books. They notice bowls on a table (""The littlest one was empty, but the two biggest bowls were brimming with porridge""), but are frightened by the Three Bears; they climb a beanstalk to a huge buffet, but are interrupted by a giant; they nibble at a pie, startling four-and-twenty blackbirds baked within (Rankin draws exactly two dozen). Luckily, Merl--the duo's leader--has the insight to draw meals on their original dishes; they've cleaned their plates by the time their creator ""completes"" the picture with a fluffy dessert--the perfect closure to supper and to the book. This neatly unified volume works on many levels: not only does Rankin (The Handmade Alphabet) make sly allusions to popular tales but she cleverly posits a secret life for artwork. Ages 4-8. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997
Release date: 06/01/1997
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-679-89311-0
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-679-98105-3
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