cover image Those Bottles

Those Bottles

M. L. Miller. Putnam Publishing Group, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22607-6

Nostalgia for 1940s and '50s America shines through in this odd and otherwise murky tale. The Bottle family, a traditional unit of mother, father, three kids and a cat, are, quite literally, bottles. Trouble begins when the Bottles move to a town populated by humans. After setting up a glassworks to make bottles by hand (and, presumably, to convert users of drab ``crushable cans''), the Bottles find that their strange appearances bother the townsfolk. Their unpopularity continues until a flood imperils the town: the industrious Bottles become heroes by filling vessel after vessel until the water level drops. Despite his unique vision, Miller ( Dizzy from Fools ) fails to define the narrative logic. Root's ( The Araboolies of Liberty Street ) illustrations hold the most interest here. The artist paints in mustard yellow, piney green and pumpkin orange tones, bathing his spreads in a rich, sunset-like glow. This color choice proves particularly effective in scenes of glassblowing, and heightens the overall retro feel. Ultimately, however, only serious antiquers and devotees of vintage craftsmanship will be much charmed--and those categories tend to exclude children. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)