cover image The Flying Acorns

The Flying Acorns

James Stevenson. Greenwillow Books, $14 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11418-3

Stevenson, whose career as both an author-illustrator of children's books and a cartoonist for the New Yorker underscores the versatility of his humor, here presents a story that will make readers of any generation chuckle. Three snails looking for excitement find just that when they come upon The Flying Acorns, three squirrels who are aspiring acrobats. As the tiny snails watch--and offer a hilarious running commentary--the trio tries in vain to perfect somersaults and leaps from trees so they can perform in a circus. Finally, the squabbling squirrels give up, and two stomp off. The third, Jerry, posts a sign in hopes of recruiting new acrobats, but instead concocts an act starring the snails, who not only fly through the air but sing in three-part harmony (``Tonight, you're going in there as snails, but you're coming back as stars ,'' quips Jerry). Their performance is wildly successful, as is Stevenson's in this waggish tale. With his familiar comic-book style illustrations and wry wit (though occasionally tinged with an adult sensibility), Stevenson serves up nuts of a high order indeed. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)