cover image Tangle Town

Tangle Town

Kurt Cyrus. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37384-9

Here's a debut picture book with a few twists. While trying to push open a door that reads ""Pull,"" Tangle Town's mayor complains of ""blisters."" As in a game of Telephone, he is misunderstood: his listeners shout about ""blasters,"" call for ""plasterers"" and finally shriek, ""Disaster!"" Confused Tangle Towners stampede every which way, arms waving, feet flying and faces grimacing. Meanwhile, in the nearby countryside, a cow wanders out of a pasture. Farmhand Roxy, milk pail in hand, follows the cow into town; when she witnesses the melee, her ""barnyard instincts [take] over,"" and she rounds up the unruly humans as though they were cattle. Happily for the audience, Roxy's organizational skills have little lasting effect. After all, it's just a typical day in Tangle Town, home of the Bigtwist Pretzel Mill, Zigzag Avenue and Upper Underloop Lane. Cyrus's breathless narration helps maintain the frenetic pace; his plasticky-smooth illustrations, which highlight the townspeople's exaggerated body language, patterned clothing and cloverleaf traffic patterns, further suggest a chronically bewildered populace. This topsy-turvy town has much of the appeal of an updated Chelm. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)