Four ticky-tacky decorations—a flamingo, a gnome, a lawn jockey, and a deer with half an ear—ponder their future when their owners move away. They miss Pearl, the girl who “knew that they were real,” and they face other threats: “ 'If we stay here,' said Betty, 'the new owners may store us in the garage—or, worse...' 'The curb!
' they all said.” Mindful of being mistaken for garbage, they leave the downscale cottage in search of Pearl's new gated community, Ritzy Estates. Yaccarino (The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau
) gives the ornaments salt-of-the-earth names—Flo, Betty, Norm, and Jack—and places them in droll situations, which often appear in side panels, lending the tale a storyboard quality. During their journey, the four pose as water features in a fountain, walk along stacked like the Bremen Town Musicians, and get directions from Paul Bunyan. Other gnomes, RV-park flamingos, and racetrack jockeys also temporarily distract them, but they persevere. In sinuous contemporary art, Yaccarino humorously considers the secret lives of inanimate objects and lampoons the vagaries of taste: “Some people didn't love lawn ornaments the way Pearl did.” Ages 5–9. (Jan.)