cover image Lady Bugatti

Lady Bugatti

Joyce Maxner. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10340-8

``Bupji Beetle, Dragonia Fly, Anatole Ant, Madame Flutterby, Bumbly Bee and you and I'' are the guests of Lady Bugatti for an elegant dinner and evening at the theater. As the overture is about to begin, however, the troupe realizes that Lady Bugatti has disappeared. Various performers take the stage--``An owl croons a love poem to a tree. / Three toads do a tappety-tap. / Shahna Snake ripples up to high C. / Rabbit Jack pulls a bat from a hat''--with no sign of the glamorous hostess. When the last act opens, Lady Bugatti is finally seen--the highlight of the evening. Quite sophisticated for young readers, Maxner's slightly awkward verse offers no clues to the allure of the mysterious heroine, so the intended climax falls short. Far more engaging are Hawkes's ( When the Troll Heard the Squeak ) singular human/ insect creatures--eerily graceful with shimmering wings and arcing antennae. Distorted perspectives and a darkly vibrant palette lend a macabre tone to this baroque bash. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)