cover image Animal Stew

Animal Stew

Shen Roddie. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-395-57582-6

``One day at about lunch time, Eva the Enormous Giant got enormously hungry.'' And so, according to Roddie's lighthearted culinary caper, the lady takes up her brightly colored sack and collects ingredients for a gourmet repast: a caterpillar, a frog, a fox, a crocodile and a ``big brown bear.'' In Gallagher's crisply defined, animated illustrations, the animals are gathered in turn into Eva's bag--represented by sizable lift-up flaps--then tossed into her cast iron pot. From smallest to largest, each creature then devours the next; but they all, reacting to an excess of pepper, promptly sneeze out their catch. The animals flee through a flap door; Eva's resultant lunch would hardly thrill Julia Child. Both text and art here are appropriately forthright and evince a kid-appealing charm. The uncomplicated paper engineering, perfectly geared to the intended audience, affords repeated opportunities for hands-on amusement. Ages 2-5. (Mar.)