Artichoke Boy

Scott Mickelson, Author . Boyds Mills $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59078-605-5

In both name and appearance, artichokes are one of the funnier items in the produce section, and Mickelson manages to capitalize on some of this intrinsic humor in his picture book debut. Combining boldly inked cartoon vignettes with images of real artichokes, he shows how one kid lives and breathes this vegetable: “He had an artichoke toothbrush/ and took artichoke baths.../ and on Halloween night wore an artichoke mask.” The relationship between Mickelson's loose, rhymed verse and the mixed-media art is quite literal, with the images mainly mirroring what's written (Mickelson does insert a few sly visual jokes: in a spread about the seasons, four artichokes are shown in a bird's nest for spring, and another waits on the teacher's desk, come fall). The simple, expected rhymes will work best at the preschool level, but the right crowd should get a giggle from the repetition of “artichoke” and the pictures' incongruity. Whether the odd family—with melon-shaped heads and wide eyes (of two different pastel shades)—will inspire kids to try an artichoke is another matter. Ages 5–7. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2009
Release date: 02/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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