cover image Leonard


Wolf Erlbruch. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-09482-2

German artist Erlbruch sketches a telling psychological portrait in this offbeat offering. Leonard loves nothing so much as dogs-he pretends he's canine, barking and growling at home and at the grocery store, or he puts his obliging granny on a leash. But when he meets them in the fur, he's terrified. One day, a fairy grants Leonard's fondest wish, and the slight blond boy becomes a heavy-set brown-and-white mutt (his parents ``cried and cried but felt better when they realized what a good dog he was''). Leonard is thrilled-until he encounters a harmless child. Suddenly, ``he imagined the world was full of ferocious little boys,'' and this change of perspective enables him to return to being a regular kid. There's a moody touch of Francis Bacon in Erlbruch's asymmetrical cartoon faces. The figures and objects in his compositions, drawn in pastels on brown paper and pasted onto beige backgrounds, have a slightly dislocated look that mirrors the wayward strain of Leonard's fantasies and phobias. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)