cover image Michael


Tony Bradman. MacMillan Publishing Company, $13.95 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-02-711850-6

Michael is ``the worst boy in the school''--unpunctual, inattentive and disruptive. In art class he draws a rocket while the other children paint flowers; in math, he works on strange calculations instead of reciting his tables; in gym class he leaps skyward as his fellow pupils jog on the spot. Although Michael likes reading, he prefers books on rockets and outer space to ``the sort of books they had in school.'' Michael's teachers have washed their hands of him, until one day the ingenious boy zips off in a homemade rocket. This somewhat offbeat picture book is a splendid collaboration, for what the text does not divulge, the pictures do eloquently. Bradman's text is deadpan in its simplicity and amusing in its understatement, while Ross's exuberant illustrations present a ghastly array of teachers and rows of snub-nosed schoolchildren in comic detail. Though some parents may wonder whether Michael's genius justifies his bad behavior, children will find him perfectly endearing. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)