cover image THE MIGHTIEST


Keiko Kasza, . . Putnam, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23586-3

Kasza's (Dorothy & Mikey) spry, if slight, story introduces three animals—a lion, bear and elephant—who come across a gold crown sitting on a rock that is chiseled with the words "For the Mightiest." Since all three of them claim to be the most deserving of the crown, Lion suggests that whoever does the best job of scaring a tiny old woman who is walking through the woods will earn the title of the mightiest. One by one they jump out at her, roaring, growling or trumpeting as loudly as they can and each time the frightened woman cries, "Oh my!... You scared the daylights out of me!" Suddenly, an enormous giant appears and announces that the crown should be his, since he is "the mightiest giant in the world." A surprising turn of events prompts the animal trio to crown the old woman the mightiest. But she humbly insists that her calico cap is all that she needs ("The mightiest didn't need a crown after all!"), bringing the tale to a tidy and resonant conclusion. Kasza's simple, playful gouache paintings effectively reinforce the narrative's humor. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)