cover image The Salamander Room

The Salamander Room

Anne Mazer, Steve Johnson. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-394-82945-6

When Brian finds an orange salamander in the woods, his mother offers many familiar reasons not to keep it. ``Where will he sleep?'' she asks, and notes that the salamander ``will miss his friends in the forest.'' But Brian has a plan. If he needs food for the salamander, he'll bring insects to his room, and then, of course, he'll have to bring birds and bullfrogs to eat the insects. He'll put trees and ponds in his room and ``lift off the ceiling'' to give them room to grow. By book's end, it is Brian who is living in the salamander's room--a forest full of lush trees, where Brian sleeps in his bed under the shadowed night sky. Johnson's ( No Star Nights ) atmospheric illustrations are excellent in both design and execution; Mazer's text offers fitting tribute to a child's perseverance and imagination. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)