Linda Ashman, , illus. by Claudio Muñoz. . HarperCollins, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-029053-5

Ashman's (Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs ) tongue-in-cheek picture book portrays the ordinary world through the eyes of a rambunctious youngster. As his parents sleep, a boy in red pajamas wakes up surrounded by stuffed animals and imagines that the bars of his bedstead belong to a cage in the zoo. The narrator pretends, "I am cornered by a savage ape—/ I growl and make a quick escape." He tiptoes past his parents' room ("the place/ where giants sleep") and imagines himself confronting various dangers: a vacuum cleaner becomes a monster, a garden hose transforms into a "spitting snake," his backyard swimming pool a tidal wave. Muñoz's (Le Petit Capitaine ) action-filled drawings show the boy rappelling down the stairs, smacking the dangerous ape away and flying like superman as his father whisks him back to the kitchen for lunch. Although the boy narrates his own adventure, the illustrations clue the audience in without diminishing the make-believe fun. The boy peers out from a "jungle" of potted plants; the "lake" he jumps across is a backyard puddle. Some parents may be troubled at the idea of a child playing with a rope or in a swimming pool without supervision, while others will appreciate the hero's model of a child using ordinary objects to construct inventive games. When the giant forces the boy to drink a "magic sleeping punch," and he awakens inside the zoo/bedroom, the end of the book hints at the start of another adventure. Ages 4-8. (May)