cover image ANDIAMO, WEASEL!


Rose Marie Grant, , illus. by Jon Goodell. . Knopf, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-80607-0

In her debut picture book, Grant serves up a trickster tale with a Mediterranean twist. "Once, on the golden fields of Tuscany, there lived a weasel and a crow," the story begins, as Goodell (Zigazak! A Magical Hanukkah Night) portrays an itinerant weasel setting eyes on the industrious crow planting corn. "This is such a grande job for such a piccola crow," the weasel points out, adding that if they share the work, they can split the harvest. The crow agrees, but when it comes to the real chores—weeding, harvesting and moving the corn into the barn—the weasel always finds an excuse to, well, weasel out of his end of the bargain. The crow soon uncovers his scam ("Mamma mia! What a weaselly weasel!"). The ultimate blow occurs when the weasel splits with his half of the harvest: he takes all the corn and leaves the husks for the crow. The would-be trickster is in for a surprise, however, when the crow seeks her "vendetta!" (revenge), proving she "may be piccola in size, but...grande in spirit." Grant's jaunty, lighthearted narrative brims with gusto, and she seamlessly weaves in Italian words and phrases (she ends with a glossary). Goodell's sunny, pastoral paintings reflect the beauty of the setting as well as the humor and action of the story; the crow's eyes belie her intelligence, while the weasel's swagger betrays his intent. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)