cover image ROSA RAPOSA


F. Isabel Campoy, , illus. by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. . Harcourt/Gulliver, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202161-0

Campoy relays a trio of rather flat trickster tales set in the Amazon rain forest, where the title character, crafty Fox, thrice gets the best of beady-eyed, sharp-toothed Jaguar. Two tales follow a predictable path: in the first, after Jaguar brags that he has tricked a monkey into freeing him from the boulder-covered hole in which he was trapped, Rosa convinces him to demonstrate how he escaped (she then rolls the boulder over the hole again to ensure he stays there); in the second, sly Rosa asks Jaguar to tie her to a tree so she will not be carried away by a fictitious approaching cyclone, prompting Jaguar to demand that she tie him securely to the tree first (after which she happily abandons him). In the third, more convoluted tale, a parched Rosa uses honey from a beehive to fashion a disguise of leaves so that she can slip past Jaguar to quench her thirst at the river. Throughout, both the characters and the plot fall short of clever, making for a rather ho-hum read. Artist duo Aruego and Dewey (Antarctic Antics) contribute vividly hued art—Jaguar sports a bright blue coat with butter-colored spots and half-moons, Rosa's fur is a zigzag fusion of orange and pink—rendered in pen and ink, gouache, watercolor and pastel. The animals' changeable facial expressions add a welcome dose of humor to these capers. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)