cover image The New Creatures

The New Creatures

Mordicai Gerstein. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022164-5

In Gerstein's latest, a grandson's comment that ``dogs and cats are nice but it seems all we do is wait on them!'' launches Grandfather on a rollicking yarn about the way of the world back when it was ruled by cats and dogs. They were very lazy, he says, but couldn't get the other animals to do their work for them. Finally, an intrepid canine named Herman set off ``into the wilds to see what else there was in the world,'' and in a hidden valley he discovered a new kind of animal. Although it didn't seem too bright, it was friendly, so Herman brought some of the new creatures back with him. They proved to be eminently trainable, and eventually an interesting role reversal took place. Gerstein's ( Arnold of the Ducks ; Mountains of Tibet ) splendidly silly story contains the kind of crazy logic kids love and a punchline that packs a merry wallop. His palette is rich and his pictures whimsical. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)