cover image Oh, No!

Oh, No!

Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) I

In this first collaboration from Fleming (Clever Jack Takes the Cake) and Rohmann (Bone Dog), jungle animals tumble one by one into a deep pit: “Frog fell into a deep, deep hole. Ribbit-oops! Ribbit-oops!” The rhythm of the lines recalls the old favorite “Frog Went A-Courtin’,” and the story’s chain of accidents and bumbling characters are friendly, familiar devices, too. Mouse falls in trying to rescue Frog, Loris tumbles down from a tree, Sun Bear’s rescue attempt fails, Monkey’s swing from a vine goes wrong, but—just as Tiger looms above—they’re all rescued by a kindly elephant. It sounds like light fare, but Rohmann’s magnificent woodblock-style prints give it unexpected dignity. The jungle pit is as spacious as a cathedral, and the animals somersault into it like Olympic divers in slow motion. Humor prevails, though, with piquant sound words (“The ground bumble-rumbled and quake-shake-quaked”), speech balloons floating up out of the pit, and glimpses of the tiger’s tail and paws. It’s a book with the feel of an older classic—and it may well become one. Ages 3–7. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. (Sept.)