cover image My Apron

My Apron

Eric Carle. Philomel Books, $22.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22824-7

Carle adopts a slightly different artistic technique for his latest work, superimposing strong line drawings over his trademark colored-tissue-paper collage. Inspired in part by French Cubist Fernand Leger's paintings of laborers (as a note printed on the endpapers tells us), the illustrations are vigorous and fresh, a visual paean to honest hard work. The story is a recollection of a vacation the eight-year-old Carle spent with relatives, tagging along with his uncle, a plasterer, and wearing the white work apron his aunt made especially for him. The sturdy, simple prose is as linear as the drawings, reinforcing the visual imagery, and it effectively captures the tender uncle-nephew bond and the pride a child feels in participating in important adult tasks. For aspiring young helpers, a single-pocket white apron is included with the book. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)