John Kelly, Author, Cathy Tincknell, Illustrator , illus. by Kelly. Candlewick $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-2594-8

In their first collaboration, husband-and-wife team Kelly (Robot Zoo ) and Tincknell serve up a gourmet meal of porcine intrigue. Horace and Glenda Pork-Fowler, a genteel porker and his lovely goose wife, receive an invitation to a weekend of gourmet dining at the manor of a Dr. Hunter. Upon arriving, the couple discovers a note explaining that Dr. Hunter has been called away. He instructs them to eat freely, and on Sunday he intends to "meat [them] personally" (a misspelling that may have something to do with the gigantic pie-maker disguised as a jolly bandstand on the back lawn). Despite a gallery full of gory hunting scenes ("I prefer my works of art displayed on a plate," Horace harumphs) and a certain painting in the dining room ("I thought the portrait over the mantelpiece was rather good—especially the way the eyes seemed to follow our every move"), the couple remains gloriously oblivious to the host's identity and intentions—even though readers will recognize the silhouetted portrait as a predator. Kelly brews just the right mix of horror and delight with a series of cartoonish spreads of the Pork-Fowlers viewed through Dr. Hunter's high-tech surveillance instruments. Through pure gluttony, the Pork-Fowlers foul up Dr. Hunter's plans and live to stuff themselves another day. Every page contains more rib-tickling touches, and kids will plead to visit this eating establishment again. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
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