cover image Leon and Albertine

Leon and Albertine

Christine Davenier. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30072-5

Expressive watercolor images of barnyard animals enliven this pleasing story of a pig in love with a chicken. Leon, a pink porcine fellow, wants to impress the petite hen Albertine. A proud green rooster tells Leon to sing for her, a magnificent turkey struts its tail-feathers and tells the lovelorn guy to improve his fashion sense, and a graceful duck suggests ""a spectacular dive into the lake."" Yet Albertine fails to notice her wooer's efforts, even when he hefts a sheep into the air per a looming brown bull's advice: ""Get tough! Women love us because we're strong!"" Davenier reveals the animals' personalities through their diverse facial expressions. Albertine isn't cocky, just unobservant, and her courtier's comical attempts at suavity always give way to a hangdog look. The author overlays loose and sketchy pencil lines with confident brushstrokes, and the white background intensifies the animals' dramatic gestures. The conclusion is predictable--who knew a chicken wanted to wallow in the mud?--but this well-drawn tale humorously conveys the absurdity of a crush. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)