cover image Goblins in Green

Goblins in Green

Nicholas Heller. Greenwillow Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12802-9

A gaggle of goblins from A to Z (for Annabelle to Zelda, modeling everything from anoraks to zoot suits) cavort through the fun-filled pages. Set in an attic replete with fascinating objects, Heller's (Peas; Woody) text is a playful romp through the alphabet-one that uses alliteration to highlight the letter in question and introduce the ones that follow (``Jared jumps in his jaunty knickers''). But the true treasure comes from Smith's (Matthew's Dragon; Chipmunk) zippy illustrations. Full of expressive merriment in their own right, the gouache, watercolor and pencil images take on a surprising comical element upon closer viewing. Far from the run-of-the-mill alphabet book, here is an rip-roaring visual spoof on famous paintings and films. From Degas to the hit film The Mask, no one and nothing is safe from Smith's wry visual parodies. Readers will find the goblin Selwin, posed to mimic Munch's famous painting, to be a particular scream. Zany! Ages 4-up. (Sept.)