cover image A Basket Full of White Eggs: Riddle Poems

A Basket Full of White Eggs: Riddle Poems

Brian Swann. Orchard Books (NY), $14.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-08334-5

What goes ""through the valley/ slapping palms together/ like the women in town/ who are making tortillas''? The answer to this Aztec riddle about a butterfly is found in the splendid illustration of women in the marketplace whose hands flutter and clap like the wings of butterflies hovering about their heads. Swann introduces young readers to 15 ``riddle-poems'' based on quizzical sayings and proverbs from around the world. Even with the clever pictures, some of the riddles are difficult: ``It's black and trickles down,/ trickles down from the hill: sweeter than sugar,/ more delicious than honey'' (taken from a Saudi Arabian source, this puzzle describes sleep). But Goembel's lovely watercolor and pen-and-ink drawings make sense of proverbs that might otherwise seem obscure in this thought-provoking and beautiful book. Ages 5-8. (March)