cover image Phil the Ventriloquist

Phil the Ventriloquist

Robert Kraus. Greenwillow Books, $11.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07987-1

Phil drives his parents crazy with his talent for ventriloquismhe makes it sound as if the oranges are screaming when his mother tries to squeeze juice from them and he has his father's favorite chair yell, ``Don't sit on me!'' The parents buy him a dummy, but Phil has no interest in such an ordinary use of his gift. When a burglar creeps into the house late one night, Phil keeps his head and throws his voice into, among other things, a bowl of fruit, which cries, ``Stick 'em up!'' Ventriloquism is a source of fascination for children, but this book takes for granted that readers will know what it is, as well as the term ``throwing'' the voice. That may be a minor point compared to the funny moments throughout. Watercolor and felt marker illustrations give Phil's excellent sense of timing extra punch, and the book is worth a re-read just to see the furniture talking. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)