cover image The Nose

The Nose

Nikolai Vasil'evich Gogol, Catherine Cowan. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10464-1

The bowed perspectives and exaggerated facial features that distinguish Hawkes's (Then the Troll Heard the Squeak) paintings lend a refreshing waggishness to Gogol's classic satire. The artist carves out his own brand of eccentric humor with his interpretation of Gogol's characters, among them an astonished, noseless Deputy Inspector of Reindeer; a baffled, bumbling Police Inspector; and, of course, the haughty, runaway Proboscis itself. Cowan's high-spirited retelling captures the understated absurdity of the tale: ``What was [the Deputy Inspector] to make of a nose, which only yesterday had known its place, now walking and driving about-and dressed in a uniform, too?'' Each block of text is bordered by a golden frame dotted with an abundance of noses in a variety of shapes and guises. Less elegant than Gennady Spirin's 1993 adaptation, this version is more accessible to children. Whether acquainted with the story or new to it, readers will delight in the small, comic details in the language and the art. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)