cover image Fish Fry Tonight

Fish Fry Tonight

Jackie French Koller. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $13 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-517-57814-8

Intricate, sketchy watercolors draw the reader into a world of springtime flora and fauna as Mouse catches her biggest fish ever. She invites her friend Squirrel to a fish fry--``Bring a friend. Bring two or three!''--but as the invitation escalates the ensuing misunderstandings create hilarious havoc. Passing along Mouse's summons, each creature repeats her description of ``a fish as B-I-G as me''; accordingly, the catch ends up bear-sized. When Mouse opens her door at the appointed hour, she is startled to discover `` . . . friends by the dozen! / Friends by the scad! / More friends than Mouse / ever knew that she had.'' With a pinch of resourcefulness, she solves her social crisis in exemplary fashion. Though Koller's verse at times becomes ragged and doesn't scan, her characters' antics prove amusing and her word pictures occasionally charm--Mouse enjoys the brook's ``ripples and dapples / that giggled and babbled.'' O'Neill's ( Mrs. Dunphy's Dog ) winsome cast and bucolic settings stylishly enhance the proceedings. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)