cover image The Pig in the Spigot

The Pig in the Spigot

Richard Wilbur. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (56pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202019-4

Part hide-and-seek game, part dictionary, Wilbur's (The Disappearing Alphabet) exuberant text playfully demonstrates how smaller words are found within larger ones and shows the relationship between those words' definitions: ""Sea is in nausea, which seems strange to me,/ Since nausea comes from tossing in the sea."" But not all the embedded word connections are as clever as that one, and some words are definitely geared to older readers (""An obol is an old Greek coin. To think/ That one should be inside a bobolink!""). But the majority of the jaunty rhymes scan well and will encourage readers young and old to be on the lookout for similar types of wordplay. Siebold (Olive, the Other Reindeer; Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride) injects an extra dose of fun into his computer-generated scenes with a stylized wackiness and attention to detail. On one particularly inspired spread, the artist pairs a portrait of ""The Devil... at home.../ In Mandeville, Louisiana"" on the left, with a creature tortured by a ""gnat in indignation,"" leading a swarm of friends, on the right--a sly reference to Beelzebub. Kids will also enjoy spotting the cameo appearances by Siebold's pup creation, Mr. Lunch, and Pok mon character Pikachu. All ages. (Oct.)