cover image Buster's Echo

Buster's Echo

Ragnhild Scamell. Willa Perlman Books, $14 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022883-5

Scamell ( Three Bags Full ) and debut illustrator Webster fill this accessible picture book with an animal team resembling that of a Grimm fairy tale, ``The Brementown Musicians.'' Buster the dog lives on one side of a valley, and when he barks, he hears a thunderous ``woof'' from a large dog on the opposite hill. Meanwhile, a rooster hears a giant rooster's cock-a-doodle-doo, a cow hears a ``terrible'' bull's moo and a mouse hears a mean rat's squeak across the way. Buster and friends cross the valley to confront their foes, never realizing that they've merely heard their own echoes; they return home convinced that they've frightened their unseen adversaries. Scamell leaves it up to the book's title to explain the echo concept. Webster's minimalistic illustrations--with their wide, unsteady black outlines and undiluted areas of primary and secondary color--match the straightforwardness of the narration. Where Scamell relies on her title to build irony, Webster adds sophistication with her palette of luxurious indigos and aquamarines, startling crimsons and steely gray-greens. Well-suited to the very young. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)