Adventure of Ralphie the Roach

Paulina Porizkova, Author, Adam Otcasek, Illustrator, Joanne Russell, With Doubleday Books $15 (1p) ISBN 978-0-385-42402-8
Supermodels Porizkova and Russell, along with Porizkova's stepson, have produced an all-around amateurish effort. Ralphie's family lives in Roachtown, a teeming metropolis behind a shelf in an empty New York City house. One day, their scuttling and scavenging are halted by the arrival of two humans, Hedda and Helmut Horrible. Ralphie's subsequent efforts to save Roachtown from extermination and the Horribles' eventual departure form the bulk of this ponderous, pretentious first book. Cockroaches are ipso facto an unappetizing subject; the authors' self-conscious, pseudo-hipster style does nothing to alter that fact. Ralphie--whose friends call one another ``dude'' and ``man''--dispatches a bottled SOS to the roaches of the world, a trick he'd read about in Roachinson Crusoe. The heavyhanded denouement, in which countless avenging roaches mass in the Horribles' kitchen, will certainly cause queasiness. Otcasek's illustrations, in blacks, browns and muddy reds, are no more attractive than the (overlong) text. In would-be downtown surrealism featuring huge closeups, he shows us unpleasantly featured characters (both humans and insects are equally disagreeable) totally lacking in kid appeal. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Genre: Children's
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