cover image Puppies and Piggies

Puppies and Piggies

Cynthia Rylant, , illus. by Ivan Bates. . Harcourt, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202321-8

A farmyard's worth of animals smile their way through this rhyming poem cum bedtime book about what makes each one of them happy. Rylant (Baby Face , reviewed above) starts off with brisk, chirpy lines: “Kitty loves a garden/ Kitty loves a rose./ Kitty loves to walk up high/ On her kitty toes.” Working in watercolors and wax crayons, in panels and vignettes, Bates (Farmer Dale's Red Pickup Truck ) animates the verse with an unapologetically anthropomorphized cast of creatures: his Bunny lounges against a gardener's workbasket as it snacks on lettuce leaves; his Mousey clasps pretty leaves in its paws as it gazes, enthralled, at a ladybug overhead. It's almost as if a particularly cute stuffed-animal collection had been the models. The tempo slows down a little as the woman seen gardening earlier reappears, now indoors and holding a smiling baby: “Baby loves his mama, who will/ Kiss his sleepy head.” By the last page, the baby sleeps ensconced in his crib, with all the beaming animals arrayed in the window and along the sill: Chickie on Piggy's head, Mousey next to Kitty and so forth. A good choice for those who like their bedtime books served sunny-side-up. Ages 3-5. (Mar.)