cover image No Biting, Louise

No Biting, Louise

Margie Palatini, , illus. by Matthew Reinhart. . HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-052627-6

Louise is a pigtailed, pint-size alligator with “new gleaming-white baby choppers”—which, unfortunately, give her a “tendency to... how to put it? Gnaw. On everything. Everyone. Everywhere.” (A bite-size “hole” on the jacket suggests that it, too, has succumbed to Louise's insatiable maw.) In wryly well-bred cadences that are a hoot to read aloud, Palatini (Piggie Pie ) goes on to chronicle how Louise's biting manages to drive everyone around her to the brink, including an entire beach full of day trippers (“Louise was sorry. She was really, really, truly quite sorry”). Reinhart (the Encyclopedia Prehistorica pop-ups) gleefully records the mayhem with nicely nutty watercolor-and-ink cartoons that take full advantage of Louise's propensity to go for the gluteus maximus. The story looks like it's headed down an overly familiar lane when Grandmama Sadie positions herself as the only gator who truly understands Louise (“This is only a phase my little joy is going through,” she avers, chucking Louise under her scaly chin). But instead of the expected heart-to-heart, Louise takes a chomp out of Grandmama too. Lots of fun—and certain to be the object of repeat-reading demands. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)