cover image The Little Dog Laughed

The Little Dog Laughed

Lucy Cousins, Schubert. Dutton Books, $14.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44573-9

The nursery rhymes in this collection are standards (``Jack and Jill,'' ``Old King Cole,'' ``Little Miss Muffet'') and the text, set on a white background, is clear and easy to read. It's the illustrations that star here: they positively go bananas all around the words. Cousins's splashes of intense color possess such refreshing clarity and intensity that they hit the reader like a bit of spring on a cold winter day. Her technique is simple yet bold, and she skillfully applies humor along with the thick paint. Inhabited by imaginatively dressed stick people with round faces and rosy cheeks, the book begins with a fine lady on a white horse and ends with Wee Willie Winkie running through the town in a periwinkle-and-white-striped nightgown. This is a glorious addendum to the Mother Goose tradition. Ages 2-5. (Apr.)