cover image Goodness Gracious!

Goodness Gracious!

Phil Cummings. Orchard Books (NY), $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05967-8

``Goodness Gracious! Look at my faces! / scary starey bold or hairy,'' begins this over-the-top anatomical assembly. And so it goes, with rhymed couplets describing parts of the body from the face down to the toes. Children are likely to enjoy the silly rhymes, although adults may find some of them labored, to wit: ``Chicken farms, look at my arms! / bendy bravey stretchy wavy . . . . '' Just what is a ``bravey'' arm, anyway? As depicted by Smith, a recurring band of characters--a girl with a thatch of bright red hair, a pirate, a witch and assorted animals--stretch their limbs and tumble about to illustrate the attributes described in the text. All the while, a shaggy dog with easel and palette tries to get these odd-looking, cartoony folk to stand still long enough for him to paint a group portrait. The characters' simultaneous bodily contortions sometimes make the pictures so congested that they become difficult to decipher. And do we really need the image of a pigeon defecating on the artist's freshly prepared canvas? Ages 3-6. (Mar.)