JOEY AND JET: Book 1 of Their Adventures

James Yang, Author . Atheneum/Jackson $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-689-86926-6

Yang (Build It Up and Knock It Down ), an acclaimed editorial artist, makes his children's book authorial debut in this visually enticing pseudo-primer. He uses a game of fetch as a conceit to demonstrate the differences between prepositions. Joey, who sports a red baseball cap and glasses atop his oversize, ovoid head, launches a ball for his dog, Jet, to catch. The pet amply demonstrates why he is "the best ball chaser in the world," as he careens through Yang's digitally rendered, flat landscapes of overlapping shapes, stylized objects and animals. On one spread, the pooch pursues the bouncing ball "across the street," on another "between the tables" then "over the roofs" and so on; once he finds it, a spread of overlapping panels capsulizes Joey's journey back to Joey. The artwork harks back to a 1950s aesthetic with its patterns and palette, as well as details such as mod, orange café chairs and wire antennas projecting from rooftops at all angles. Generally, Yang's compositions aptly show each preposition's meaning, though the distinctions between a few ("among the birds" and "through the trees") may be less apparent. Kids will likely get a kick out of the wearied pup who, upon finally returning the ball, gets only a moment's respite before the game begins again. Readers will hope that, as the subtitle hints, this duo will return. Ages 2-5. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-4424-5930-4
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