cover image Zorro and Quwi

Zorro and Quwi

Rebecca Hickox. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-385-32122-8

Quwi, the sly guinea-pig star of these lively escapades, is Peru's answer to Coyote, Brer Rabbit and other North American tricksters. A master of comic timing, Hickox (Matreshka) links various elements of a Peruvian folktale cycle to show how Quwi not only escapes the jaws of the hungry fox Zorro, but thoroughly outwits him each time they meet. In their first encounter, for example, Quwi has been trapped by a gardener when Zorro ambles by, delighted to find such an easy and ample breakfast; Quwi tricks Zorro into the delicious idiocy of climbing into the trap and exchanging places with him. The stage is set for a rollicking game of one-upmanship that grows more outrageous with each round. Howard (Mediopollito/Half Chicken), intriguingly, veers away from the slapstick humor of the story to emphasize its folkloric weight in deep-toned, energetic full-spread paintings. Her quirky forms and composition are augmented by vibrant, uneven coloration suggestive of stained glass; this use of color also contributes to the sense of motion on the page. Altogether great good fun. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)