cover image IN MY WORLD


Lois Ehlert, . . Harcourt, $15 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-216269-6

Unlike her past efforts such as Color Zoo and Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On, which demonstrated the concrete concepts of shape and number respectively, Ehlert's latest work enters the realm of the abstract, suggesting the interconnectedness of nature through a complex blend of shapes, colors and images. The deep-blue cover with a die-cut child-sized hand hints at hidden bounty: "My world is made of things I like," reads the opening. Above, large and small circular cutouts represent Earth, moon and stars. Ehlert goes on to show "creeping/ bugs," "leaping/ frogs" and "singing/ birds"; each action provides a clue, the turn of a page supplies the creature it describes. Layered on top of one another, each cutout contains elements of the others. Unfortunately, the sometimes unharmonious arrangements within the cut-out shapes compromise their integrity, making many of them difficult to identify. Successful standouts, such as the "butterfly," "pear" and "leaf," for example, offer a symmetrical presentation, helping young readers to predict the word on the next page. A rebus poem, which incorporates images from the book, fills the final spread. All ages.(Apr.)