cover image MEET WILD BOARS


Meg Rosoff, , illus. by Sophie Blackall. . Holt, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0312379636

Bad behavior is utterly unacceptable, of course—but it sure makes for a terrific spectator sport. That's the mindset Rosoff (How I Live Now ) and Blackall (Ruby's Wish ) expertly tap into as they present four incorrigible boars named Boris, Morris, Horace and Doris. "If you try to help Horace with his mittens, he will make a nasty smell and snort with laughter. Snort snort snort ," writes Rosoff, as Blackall shows the boar assuming a pose of civil disobedience in the cubby area of a classroom, a cloud of green gas expelling from his behind. And if a boar were invited over for a playdate and acted like a helpless shrinking violet who sought the comfort of the host's favorite toy, beware: "Given half a chance (or even less) Doris will eat your very best whale, flippers and all." Blackall's hulking, hairy boars—each adorned in comically ill-fitting clothing—make a wonderful visual articulation of and counterpoint to Rosoff's arch, mock-cautionary prose. In fact, they're so vivid in their steely-eyed determination to wreak comic havoc that the book's reader surrogates—a boy and girl who bear witness to and act as foils for all the boars' shenanigans—pale in comparison (the children's oddly flat, almost paper-doll mien does not help, either). Besides, youngsters don't really need any cues on how to project themselves into scenarios such as these—they'll relish tut-tutting such an uncouth crew, while secretly delighting in the boars' unmitigated chutzpah. Ages 3-8. (May)