cover image The Trouble with Uncle

The Trouble with Uncle

Babette Cole. Little Brown and Company, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-316-15190-0

Once again Cole ( Cupid ; The Silly Book ) pulls readers into a wonderfully wacky universe where ordinary rules needn't apply. Described by his more proper niece, the smiling, bearded Uncle displays the sign of the Jolly Roger on his hat, drinks grog with his maties and hardly goes anywhere without his parrot and his eyepatch-wearing cat. People at the yacht club give Uncle funny looks when he utters his hearty ``Aghaa!''sic and we can only imagine his behavior at family reunions. When he spends a few doubloons on a treasure map and sails to a faraway island in his brigantine, Ye Rusty Hulk , the swashbuckling begins as a whale, some scurvy thugs, a movie star and a mermaid join the action. Readers accustomed to Cole's helter-skelter plotting will find this story unusually smooth. Still, it's unabashedly manic--a quality infectiously outre to some, over-the-top to others. Cole's enthusiastic drawing style is perfectly in keeping with the story: characters exhibit goofy grins, rubbery limbs and preternaturally expressive faces. An outstanding addition to Cole's oeuvre. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)