IF YOU SEE A KITTEN

John Butler, Author . Peachtree $13.95 (24p) ISBN 978-1-56145-108-1

Butler (Hush, Little Ones) invites youngsters to revel in their reactions to 10 splendidly rendered portraits of baby animals and insects. "If you see a cuddly kitten.../ say, 'Ahhh!'/ If you see a pudgy pig.../ say, 'Peee-ew!' " Each introduction includes a visual clue: on the spread showing the plump, playful kitten, the piglet's curly tail (and the muck it has rolled in) can be seen in the lower right-hand corner of the spread (actually, with its poignant expression, the piglet is every bit as "ahhh"-worthy as the cat). Realistic scale is not a concern of Butler's—a tightly furled dormouse occupies as much of the creamy white space as a spider or porcupine. But the level of detail is another matter: with painterly aplomb, Butler painstakingly delineates the fur on the abdomen of a spider and makes the sliminess of a slug's corrugated body seem almost palpable (the "Yuck!" the slug elicits seems entirely merited). Children, especially those on the younger end of the target audience, will likely embrace this handsome book's exhortations right up to the end, when a "crabby crocodile" with very big jaws demands only one response: "HELP!" Ages 2-6. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/03/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Genre: Children's
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