cover image INCREDIBLE ME!


Kathi Appelt, Philemon Sturges, , illus. by G. Brian Karas. . HarperCollins, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-028622-4

A girl exhibits healthy self-esteem in Appelt's (Bats Around the Clock) celebratory ode. "Nobody whistles the way I do/ Nobody chews the way I chew/ I'm the cat's meow,/ I'm the dog's top flea/ I'm the one, the only,/ most marvelous me!" she shouts. Drawn with colored pencil, the pint-size heroine, whose curly orange hair sprouts in pigtails from either side of her head, bounds from spread to spread, in Karas's (Princess Fishtail) colorful multimedia illustrations, accented throughout with bold, patterned papers. Dominated by the windows of high-rise buildings, for example, the center spread suggests the anonymity of urban living. But the girl in the corner won't be ignored. "Nobody's cowlick stands up like mine/ Nobody's freckles are this divine," she announces from an open window; the text, in large print, rings the edge of an enormous speech bubble. Karas's depiction of the carefree narrator ensures that playfulness takes precedence over arrogance and, thanks to his varied compositions, the text's pattern never grows tired. This exuberant ego booster is bound to make youngsters smile and, perhaps, take inventory of all the things that make them incredible, too. Ages 3-6. (Feb.)