cover image CHANCE


Dian Curtis Regan, , illus. by Dee Huxley. . Philomel, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23592-4

A baby with a cowboy twang and plenty of attitude becomes a vagabond in Regan's (Princess Nevermore) tall tale. Itchy diapers, "gooky mush" for dinner, dog slobber on his rattle and extra baths all spur baby Chance to take his blankey and set off in search of a better life. Calling Ma and Pa now and then to check in, he spends the fall with a bear ("Taught me breakfast is the most important meal, and if you're lucky, you can make it last all day"), the winter with some monkeys at the zoo, spring with the sea lions and summer in the desert. Chance cavorts with his animal friends, but he's always thinking about his family. "How could I miss my own first birthday?" he asks as he heads home, deciding that he's just as important to his parents as they are to him—after all, who else can teach them how to make breakfast last all day? In her U.S. debut, Australian artist Huxley uses subtle blends of chalks and colored pencils for a sophisticated take on a folk-like style. A generous helping of pastel curves and sweeps exaggerate the characters' rounded bodies, the baby's globelike head, the homely settings and the arcs of the horizon. The well-developed premise and witty visual translation of the wee hero's deadpan humor make this offbeat tale a delight to chance upon. Ages 3-7. (May)