cover image Five Bad Boys, Billy Que, and the Dustdobbin

Five Bad Boys, Billy Que, and the Dustdobbin

Susan Patron. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05989-0

One of those mysterious dust creatures that seem to multiply beneath the furniture takes on a life of its own in this newest collaboration from Patron and Shenon ( Burgoo Stew ). A magical talking dustdobbin gets more than his feelings hurt when ornery Billy Que carelessly steps on him. Eager to teach Billy a lesson about respecting ``small folk , '' the dustdobbin shrinks Billy to the size of a teaspoon and threatens to leave him that way unless he meets a challenge. With the help of five bad boys (who turn out to be ``not so bad''), Billy regains his ``true and natural size''--with a whole new outlook. Patron's energetic text features folksy turns of phrase that give her tale a jolly ``country bumpkin'' tone. Billy Que's innocence and benevolence are likeable and refreshing. Shenon's ink and watercolor illustrations employ skewed perspectives to diverting effect; many imaginative touches include anthropomorphic dust and a bottle-top that becomes Billy's cap. This tale may well pique the curiosity of those who haven't recently checked under the bed. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)