cover image Where Can Daniel Be?

Where Can Daniel Be?

Leah Komaiko. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06850-2

Less successful than Komaiko's Annie Bananie or Earl's Too Cool for Me, this jumbled picture book opens dramatically with three-year-old Daniel's disappearance: ``Was he stolen?/ Was he kidnapped?/ Is he dead?/ Check the hamper./ Search the attic./ Vacuum underneath the bed!'' Daniel's older sister, the narrator here, imagines that he's been captured by pirates-``out on the planks/ those hairy sea apes/ are starving-it's lunchtime,/ but they've got just three grapes!'' The focus remains on the sister, who imagines what will happen to her if Daniel isn't found: ``I must sleep in the sandbox,/ take baths in a tree.../ eat ants from a bottle,/ sit in a bird's nest/ till the policeman comes calling.'' Planning to run away from this gloomy fate, she accidentally finds Daniel in the closet, happily eating chocolate ice cream. In spite of Cazet's (``I'm Not Sleepy'') droll, action-filled watercolors and the humor of the story line, Komaiko's work suffers from forced rhymes, irregular meters and abrupt plot changes that, unfortunately, are not in tune with each turn of the page. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)