Avi, Author, Marjorie Priceman, Illustrator , illus. by Marjorie Priceman. Atheneum/Schwartz $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-689-83914-6

Dubbed "very short stories for little listeners," this selection culled from the author's 1970 debut book of the same name is paired with effervescent all-new art. Exuberant silliness buoys each of the nine brief tales, including a high-concept yarn about an underutilized and disgruntled black crayon who finally convinces a young artist to put him in the picture, and a romp that finds a boy and his cat swapping outrageous tall tales about their day ("I went out West, looking for tigers. If you don't believe me, look how dirty my hands are. It's dirty work, looking for tigers"). A generously sized format affords Priceman (Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin) plenty of room to coax maximum mileage out of all the fun. Expansive watercolors explode in a glorious burst of color and energy atop the ample white space, as brush strokes swoop and swirl and twine a series of droll spot illustrations around the text. An inspired pairing. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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