cover image The Banging Book

The Banging Book

Bill Grossman. HarperCollins Publishers, $12.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024497-2

In this wacky (and whack-ey) rhyming tale of destruction and reconstruction, Grossman (Tommy at the Grocery Store) seems initially to adopt an if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em attitude. With cacophonous glee, two boys and two girls-mallets, bats and brooms in hand-enthusiastically demolish a playroom; even their dolls and stuffed animals recoil at the racket: ``Bangety, bangety, bang, bang, bang.'' Suddenly, the quartet finds that ``they've banged the noise right out of things,/ Leaving only little pings.'' But the unseen narrator urges, ``If banging can be used for breaking,/ Banging can be used for making,'' and the tale turns tumultuous once more, this time with upbeat beats (``Pounding doorknobs onto doors./ Fixing cars and roofs and floors''). For his first picture book, Zimmerman uses clean-edged computer graphics that, outlined in black or brown, resemble linocuts on uppers. His depiction of order brought out of chaos is consistently amusing, as are Grossman's clever couplets. There may even be a lesson lurking here, provided youngsters can hear it. Ages 3-6. (May)