cover image Simpkin


Quentin Blake. Viking Children's Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-85371-7

Blake uses a catchy, singsongy text and a spirited main character--a blond boy named Simpkin--to highlight common adjectives (``weak,'' ``strong,'' ``warm,'' etc.). Scrawled, uncomplicated ink sketches, filled in with minimal but bright watercolors, give Simpkin a rag-doll-like versatility; most of the action is set against a white background, thereby focusing attention on Simpkin's antics. ``Here is SIMPKIN,'' writes Blake on the opening page, which portrays the boy napping peacefully in a messy room. Simpkin wakes up, and ``Simpkin ONCE and Simpkin TWICE''--here he stretches, then looks in the mirror--``Simpkin NASTY Simpkin NICE''--he grimaces at his sister, then (presumably repenting) gives her a rather sloppy bouquet of flowers. The story proceeds in this jovial fashion until, having just gotten dressed to go out with his family, Simpkin tumbles back into bed: ``Simpkin JUST NOT THERE AT ALL.'' Some other applicable adjectives: bright, bouncy, beguiling. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)