cover image Buzz


Janet S. Wong. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201923-5

Wong turns from the nearly surreal, hypnotic world of Night Garden to this wide-eyed, cheerful tale offering a boy's view of a busy weekday morning. From the opening spreads, an industrious bee acts as the guiding spirit and its buzz as the leitmotif: the boy translates its hum to the ""BUZZZbuzzzBUZZZbuzz"" of his parents' snores, an alarm clock, a coffee grinder, a doorbell and his toy airplane's ill-fated flight over the breakfast table; bold type emphasizes the onomatopoeia. It's a hectic household, but Wong's story emphasizes the boy's reassuring routine in her insistent staccato prose: ""BUZZZ I run to the front door when Grandma comes and I kiss Grandma hello and I kiss Mommy good-bye so she can fly BUZZ outside like a busy bee."" In her first children's book, Chodos-Irvine combines the appealing blocky shapes of cut-paper collage with the delicacy of woodcuts on backgrounds such as the parents' clothing and the wallpaper. She knowingly shows a boy managing his world, whether it is in the image of his small body's outsize shadow filling the door of his parents' bedroom as he shouts ""Wake up!"" or the boy aping his father as he shaves (using a toy car as his razor). This joyful book will strike a resonant chord--especially for the many children with two working parents. Ages 3-7. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.]