cover image Toby, Where Are You?

Toby, Where Are You?

William Steig. HarperCollins, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-205082-3

Steig and Euvremer stage a classic game of hide-and-seek in a book that proves that even the simplest and most familiar of premises can yield original charms. A mother and father (of a furry, long-tailed, indeterminate species) search the house for their impish child; reflecting the right mixture of Toby's fantasy and the parents' willingness to enter into it, Steig's (The Toy Brother) text reports that the parents are ""just a tiny bit worried."" Readers, meanwhile, can spot Toby hiding in each cozily decorated setting, although they may have to look closely. The grinning creature chooses some goofily improbable undercover positions: he's pictured atop a table on all fours, replacing the base of a Tiffany lamp; perched on the rooftop, ostensibly imitating a weather vane; and nestled among the grapes in a fruit bowl. Euvremer's (Sun's Up) quasi-pointillist art is not without flaws-it's overlit and the draftsmanship is uneven. But the pictures are nevertheless as playful as the family they picture, and they capture Toby's innocent sense of mischief. Paired with Steig's pitch-perfect writing, they add up to an hide-and-seek entry worth searching for. All ages. (Feb.)