cover image Man Gave Names to All the Animals

Man Gave Names to All the Animals

Bob Dylan, Menchin. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202005-7

In a track on his 1979 album Slow Train Coming, Dylan speculates about Mankind's naming of beasts. Although his observations are by no means profound, his subject is appropriate for preschoolers: ""[Man] saw an animal leavin' a muddy trail./ Real dirty face and a curly tail./ He wasn't too small and he wasn't too big./ `Ah, think I'll call it a pig.' "" Menchin (The Day the Whale Came) smoothly adapts this lark of a musical moment to the page by making it a guessing game. In teasing spreads, he reveals the eyes, feet or tail of the nameless creature, then unveils it whole. Menchin surrounds his block prints of barnyard animals with mixed media collages. A linocut pink pig sits in a patch of greenish straw, for instance, and a cropped photo of a crowd overlooks a bull and toreador. Even if the chosen lyrics eliminate both the catchy tune and the famous voice, this labor of love recommends Dylan to a new generation. Ages 3-10. (Nov.)