Wake Up House!
Dee Lillegard. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-679-88351-7
The 34 brief, playful poems of this visually striking book personify a cheery yellow house and the objects within it. Lillegard (The Big Bug Ball) brings fresh wit to her quotidian subjects (broom, washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner, etc.). The bathroom fixtures that greet a child upon waking are wryly impartial: the mirror ""Shows what's there/ drowsy eyes/ tousled hair./ Doesn't laugh./ Doesn't care,"" while the sink is ""All mouth/ wide open,/ hollow./ Will hold water/ or--swallow."" ""Corners"" injects a hint of mystery into the house's inner life: ""They are the reason/ walls meet,/ and rooms consider themselves/ complete."" Carter makes his children's book debut with arrestingly tactile, sculptural artwork that combines frosting-thick acrylic paint, plaster and foam board. Some raised images (e.g., the peacock blue feather duster, the suds-filled tub) even cast shadows, and such touches as a curtain rod made of screws amplify the art's 3-D effect. Fortified by such dynamic and distinctive art, the book performs the marvelous alchemy of transforming the most everyday objects into focal points of imaginative worlds. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000