Diane de Groat, Author, Diane de Groat, Illustrator . North-South/SeaStar $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58717-214-4

DeGroat (Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink) brings back Gilbert, the affable opossum, as he prepares to play George Washington in a class skit reenacting the young Washington's admission that he cut down the cherry tree. When it is time to go home, Gilbert sneaks his three-cornered hat into his book bag so that he can practice his lines that evening. In a comical dinner-table scene, the aspiring actor stays in character a bit too well, insisting that he "cannot tell a lie" and hurting feelings by announcing that he does not like the soup his mother has made and that his younger sister is "a big copycat." But an interesting turn of events causes life to imitate art, as Gilbert finds himself reenacting George Washington's words in a situation that arises at school the next day. As always, deGroat's amusingly detailed watercolor art portrays the hero as he runs through an array of emotions, and Gilbert's animal classmates make an endearing crew. The dynamics between family members and friends are spot-on. This sprightly story delivers a clear moral in a gentle voice. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)