cover image As: A Surfeit of Similes

As: A Surfeit of Similes

Norton Juster. William Morrow & Company, $16 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-688-08139-3

It would be a grievous insult to the efforts of Juster ( The Phantom Tollbooth ) and Small ( Imogene's Antlers ) if this book were passed over by those who can't get past the grim black jacket or who categorically dismiss black-and-white illustrations before they notice each picture's hilarious content. Readers will love the rollicking batch of playful similes: ``As patient as lizards / As heavy as lead/As slow as the ketchup / As safe as your bed.'' Small's contribution is immense; for in ``As different as noses / As fickle as luck,'' such notable schnozzes as those of W. C. Fields and Pinocchio gather around a ``Wheel of Fortune.'' Children will relate to many of the similes in their first encounters with the book, and can grow into the ones they don't immediately understand. And if readers finish the book without comprehending exactly what similes are, a funny lesson brackets the verse. All ages. (Mar.)