cover image Plantpet


Elise Primavera. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22627-4

Bertie, a solitary junk collector, discovers the joys of horticulture-and companionship-in this offbeat picture book. While surveying his odd array of junk, Bertie finds what seems to be a plant in a cage, which bears the sign ``Turn This Cage Daily.'' Bertie follows the directions and the mossy-looking object grows and changes-until it walks right out of the cage and helps Bertie with the gardening. Not quite knowing what to think, Bertie names his new friend Plantpet. The two get on well until Plantpet gets a little overzealous with his digging and Bertie exiles the green guy to the farthest corner of the garden. Later, of course, he realizes he misses having Plantpet around. Primavera (The Three Dots) spins another quirky tale that celebrates buddydom. Her unadorned, declarative style keeps the writing both simple and snappy. Plantpet's scraggly earth-leaf form and Bertie's blooming garden act as bright spots in the artwork, and, although the palette is generally darker than in Primavera's previous books, lush background colors illuminate the pages. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)