cover image Shhh!


Sally Grindley. Joy Street Books, $13.45 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-316-32899-9

When the lure of a giant's castle proves too much for two passersby, they steal inside to spy on the master of the house. One is bold and points out the gigantic cat, the oversized hen and the giant's imposing wife while the other constantly frets about being discovered. With their skewed perspectives, Utton's watercolors hilariously highlight the mammoth proportions of all within--the cat looms above eye level; ``the giant's pet mouse'' lies against a tree-trunk table leg, bloated from a cheese binge. Wry domestic details include an ax for slicing hunks of bread, eyeballs in the homemade broth and human-sized chess pieces. Through glimpses of previous pages, the lift-up flaps cleverly offer reassurance to the intruders--and readers: ``Do you think we disturbed her? Look through the window and see if she's still there.'' Reassurance turns to fright, however, at the final startling sight, at which point readers will do well to follow the author's instructions--to fend off the rapidly advancing giant, ``SHUT THE BOOK!'' With its understated text and imaginative artwork, this unusual work draws readers into story and setting in a way that few picture books can. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)