cover image From Head to Toe

From Head to Toe

Eric Carle, Arnold. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023515-4

Keeping both text and graphics to a minimum, Carle proves once again just how effective simplicity can be. In these collages, a playful hodgepodge of shapes, patterns and textures pop out from clean white backgrounds to show an energetic cast of animals and children engaged in friendly dialogue. On each spread, a creature introduces itself, moves a particular part of its body (sequences go from ""head to toe"") and invites a child to do the same (""I am a penguin and I turn my head. Can you do it?""). In each case, the youngster cheerfully declares ""I can do it!""-and does. In several instances, Carle creates an uncanny similarity between the child's stance or features and those of the animal. In a refreshing twist, human and animal characters reverse roles in the final scene, as a barefoot child wiggles his toe and asks a parrot if it can do the same. The colorfully plumed fellow obliges, of course, as will readers, especially those on the younger edge of the targeted age span. In fact, they'll eagerly clap, stomp, kick and wriggle their way through these pages from start to finish. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)