cover image Stop Those Pants!

Stop Those Pants!

Mordicai Gerstein. Harcourt Children's Books, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201495-7

In this surreal escapade, talking trousers make life difficult for a kid who must dress for school. ""I'm sick of SITTING!"" Murray's jeans howl as he chases them around the bedroom. Even the boy's Skivvies try to wriggle out of being worn to class ("" `Not again!' wailed the underwear""). With a flash of his pale posterior, Murray struggles into the undies, then accepts an offer from his socks and T-shirt to help catch the pants. Yet nothing sways the denim demons until Murray promises them plenty of excitement: ""I'll run all the way to school. I'll roll down the biggest hill in the park.... I'll fill your pockets with wonderful things. Please come down."" In energetic pen-and-ink and oil drawings, the boy lunges after the bounding blue jeans, which dance lightly around the canary-yellow room; all the while, the orange gorilla face on Murray's T-shirt changes expressions, from frowning to fierce to friendly. Gerstein (Arnold and the Ducks) humorously reasons that even inanimate objects like to have a good time. Although this may be a one-joke picture book, readers may well start to smile the next time they confess ""I can't find my..."" as they dress to go out. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)