cover image Fritzi Fox Flew in from Florida

Fritzi Fox Flew in from Florida

Leah Komaiko. Laura Geringer Book, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021506-4

To the young fox who tells this tale, Florida holds a magic that can't be found in the snowy north. At first, the narrator's visitor, Fritzi Fox, doesn't seem too exotic. But when the lights go out, she opens her suitcase to let out a ball of sunshine. Then she and her surprised host soar to a fantasy beach; the seemingly shy Fritzi admits, ``I love to do the mambo/ Sing songs with my combo.'' Komaiko (Great-Aunt Ida and Her Great Dane Doc) experiments with limericks and varying meters. On a first read-through, these pose a challenge (``Hey!/ You could use a little sand dune./How about a blue lagoon?/ Monkeys, palm trees,/ A beach needs a sea breeze''). Her rhymes serve primarily as a springboard for Hurd's (Mama Don't Allow) loopy watercolors: ``That's her walking off the flight,'' writes Komaiko as Fritzi is shown parachuting from a speeding plane. Hurd, who aims for a careless charm, fills lazy, crayony black outlines with loud yellows, greens and oranges. While the book projects a type of studied whimsicality, its promise of tropical paradise may warm those chilly winter months. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)