cover image The Krazees

The Krazees

Sam Swope. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-34281-4

Children of all ages will recognize the Krazees, nutty creatures that infest a too-quiet house and attack only on rainy days. The tale echoes another stormy classic, for as gray clouds float in a steely sky, a claustrophobic, Cat in the Hat-style anxiety builds. As a girl taps her fingers on a wet, musty-green windowpane, onomatopoeic rhyme helps set the scene: ""Do you ever feel like Iggie/ when the rain goes plipple plop?/ All day long, just plipple plopple/ plipple plopple dipple dop?"" Soon furry, squat, pop-eyed beasts emerge from unexpected and silly places; one crawls from the TV with an antenna on its head, another sits in a drawer with sweat socks draped over its elephant-like nose. The potential for fright notwithstanding, Swope's (The Araboolies of Liberty Street) singsong verse and nonsense words remain cheerful (""Have you seen them in the kitchen,/ where they gumble up the food?/ Who can stop the crazy Krazees/ when they're in a crazy mood!/ They will bimple bop wherever!/ They will ingle dingle dop!""). In double-page spreads that recall Lane Smith's palette, style and energy, Brace (My Brother Is from Outer Space) portrays the Krazees as wacky, not scary--they raid the fridge and play leapfrog as antic children might, and one (a la Seuss's Cat in the Hat) even balances a goldfish bowl. With the ending comes escape and relief: ""The sun is shining bright"" with ""not a Krazee left in sight."" A gleeful fantasy for wet-weather shut-ins. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)