cover image Where Does Joe Go?

Where Does Joe Go?

Tracey Campbell Pearson. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-38319-0

One of the cleverest entries this season looks nothing like a holiday book. Cartoon illustrations chockablock with witty details serve as a red herring for readers, who will have fun speculating along with the customers of a popular snack bar as to the off-season destination of Joe, the plump, white-bearded owner. ""`He's gone to the moon,' cried tiny June,"" who pictures Joe handing ice cream cones and hot dogs to astronauts. "" `He's in the city,' suggested Kitty,"" who envisions him on a crowded street, serving throngs of pedestrians from a sidewalk stand. Fresh and funny, this light-hearted romp concludes with a wordless surprise ending: Joe is none other than Santa. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)