cover image Ooh-La-La


Maira Kalman, Maira Kalman's Max. Viking Children's Books, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84163-9

Ooh-la-la , c'est magnifique. Max Stravinsky, the poet dog hero of Max Makes a Million , realizes his dream of going to Paris in Kalman's latest high-spirited high jinks. In the City of Light he goes to museums and clubs, meets like-minded suffering artists and falls in love with Crepes Suzette, ``that divine dalmatian.'' Visual and literary jokes abound--a Parisienne wears strategically placed bananas a la Josephine Baker; a hunchback crouches atop Notre Dame; a man's hat is marked ``this is not a hat''--while lighthearted digressions offer amusing first lessons in art appreciation. The exuberant text imports French words and other vocabulary that rely heavily on context but convey a rousing musicality (``I am Fritz from the Ritz / which I quit in a snit / when the chef in a fit / threw escargot on my chapeau / and hit my head / with a stale French bread'')--sophisticated fare indeed, but children and the uninitiated alike will find plenty of amusement nonetheless. Painstaking design integrates text and pictures, turns type upside-down or sideways, shrinks or expands type size--whimsical touches in perfect keeping with this fluid work. All ages. (Oct.)