cover image ""Hi, Pizza Man!""

""Hi, Pizza Man!""

Virginia Walter. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06885-4

It's easy to work up an appetite reading this book, which offers an agreeable way to pass the time before dinner. When Vivian tosses her toys aside to announce, ``I'm hungry!'' her mother reminds her that the pizza man is a-coming, and distracts her by asking how she will greet him. The title holds an obvious answer, but Vivian's mother imagines other possibilities-``What if it's a pizza kitty? Then what will you say?'' This prompts Vivian to welcome a parade of imagined pizza-deliverers with ``Meow meow, pizza kitty!''; ``Woof woof, pizza dog!'' and so on until the doorbell rings. First-time children's author Walter's waiting game grows more entertaining when the animals arrive; it's tempting to say hello with moos, hisses and quacks. Likewise, Goembel's (A Basket Full of White Eggs) mom's-eye views of Vivian appear realistic but slightly awkward, while her lifelike ink-and-acrylic animals, framed by a doorway, are considerably more engaging. The final illustration, of a partly eaten slice of cheese and pepperoni pie, looks particularly authentic-readers' thoughts, like Vivian's, will likely turn from pizza beasts to a pizza feast. Ages 2-4. (Mar.)