cover image A Word to the Wise: And Other Proverbs

A Word to the Wise: And Other Proverbs

Johanna Hurwitz. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12065-8

Hurwitz reaches into the bottomless grab-bag of maxims and homilies and selects a handful of the better-known examples to delight and instruct her readers. With a nod to Benjamin Franklin, father of the American adage, the brief preface explains the history of proverbs and then lets the words--and pictures--speak for themselves. Rayevsky's distinctive, exaggerated style is splendidly suited to this dynamic collection. His larger-than-life caricatures give a fresh and funny twist to the sayings, which are often linked visually (the illustrations for ``A watched pot never boils'' and ``Too many cooks spoil the broth,'' on facing pages, feature the same bumbling chefs around the same suspicious kettle). Don't miss the endpapers--Rayevsky whets readers' appetites with a droll panorama of villagers who look gift horses in the mouth, wield new brooms to sweep clean, etc. One especially wry vignette shows a man adding a coin to the piggy bank on his windowsill just as the bank is about to be snatched by a masked burglar, thus demonstrating that although a penny saved may be a penny earned, a fool and his money are soon parted. An afterword provocatively pairs contradictory proverbs, e.g,. ``Look before you leap'' and ``He who hesitates is lost.'' Ages 4-up. (Mar.)