cover image And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon

Janet Stevens. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (56pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202298-3

The creators of Cook-a-Doodle-Doo! here serve up a concoction of visual treats and broad jokes as Cow, Cat and Dog search for their missing colleagues, Dish and Spoon. After previewing a page with the famous rhyme from Mother Goose, the authors showcase an alarmed feline rousing a reluctant Dog and Cow: ""EVERYBODY UP! They didn't come back!"" The cow, exhausted from his jumping, suggests that they simply eliminate the lost duo from the rhyme altogether: ""We could end it, `and the cow took a nap until noon.' "" Puns fly freely as the trio begin their search and come to a Hawaiian shirt-sporting fork (in the road), who says that he had spotted the missing characters; the utensil offers to ""take a stab at"" drawing them a map to aid the quest. Map in hand, the friends encounter an array of nursery-rhyme characters, including Spider, who regrets having frightened away Little Miss Muffet; and Wolf, dressed in a festive apron and bunny slippers, who attempts to lure Dog into a vat of boiling water. Additional stanzas to the original rhyme, which run along the sides of white-framed vignettes, help chronicle the ultimately successful hunt. Droll flourishes fill this Caldecott Honor artist's animated watercolor and colored-pencil pictures, enhanced by photographic and digital elements. Kids will gobble this up. Ages 5-8. (May)