Backpacks and Bookmarks: Ten Stories about School

Frederic Houssin, Editor, Cedric Ramadier, Editor, Christian Aubrun, Illustrator ABRAMS $14.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-8109-4480-0
Houssin and Ramadier, editors of Bunnies, Crocodiles and Me, abandon the nursery for the schoolyard in this mixed bag of stories whose pictures outdistance the prose. Fabrice Turrier's ""Ready, Set, School!"" provides an engaging set of classroom-theme games, with Scarry-style spreads of labeled objects and questions for readers to answer (""Who knocked over the spaghetti? Find the clumsy one from the clues given""). Vincent Bourgeau offers another creative entry, ""The Fence,"" in which imaginative playmates transform boring black pickets into railroad tracks and a ladder that they climb. Several stories address the issue of tardiness in an unserious manner: Cl ment Oubrerie's ""Leon the Leopard Goes to School,"" painted in rainforest hues of green and golden brown, takes an aerial view of a spotted cat's mad dash across town, with various panting stops en route; and blurry, childlike watercolors convey the fate of the slowpoke in Christian Aubrun's ""The Time-Out Box."" Lunch breaks inspire B n dicte Guettier, whose punchy minimalist canvases present a girl's response to an unappetizing menu (""I wrapped the fish in a paper napkin and put it in my pocket... and so did everyone else!""), and Mireille Vautier, whose rambunctious ""Zach-Zorro"" takes role-playing too seriously (""recess ends in bruises""). The tone is upbeat and the discipline lax in this energetic back-to-school sampler. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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