cover image Gotcha!


Gail Jorgensen. Scholastic, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-96208-7

An ursine party is rudely interrupted as a ""big, black, beastly fly"" dive-bombs the birthday cake just as the guest of honor is about to cut it. With the feckless Bertha Bear in hot pursuit, the fly takes off, leading her a merry chase through field and swamp. Bertha ineffectually swats at the pesky critter, managing to whack a great many other animals (camel, crocodile, stork and turtle) in the process. They in turn pursue her back to the picnic site, but all's well that end's well as the unexpected guests are placated with the slightly battered cake. This Australian import from a dynamite pair (Jorgensen penned Crocodile Beat; Argent illustrated One Woolly Wombat) shines with energetic humor, from the perky, preschooler-friendly repetition in the text (""WALLOP! GOTCHA! MISSED!"") to the droll watercolors. A real funnybone-tickler. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)