cover image What's for Lunch?

What's for Lunch?

John Schindel. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13598-0

As Sidney the mouse waits for his date to bring a picnic lunch, a cat approaches. `` `I'm going to eat you, mouse,' said the cat. . . . `I don't think so,' said Sidney, because at that moment, a dog ran up behind the cat.'' The dog threatens to chase the cat, but then a goose shows up and tries to bite the dog's tail, a fox comes next to gobble the goose, and so on. Each new animal appears from the right of a spread, crowding startled earlier arrivals off to the left. All the while, Sidney stands with carnival-barker aplomb atop a red brick fence, repeating ``I don't think so'' after each newcomer announces his threat. Lunch finally takes place, although Schindel's ( ``Who Are You?'' ) throwaway title does not indicate the tale's main events. The familiar narrative is redeemed somewhat by O'Malley's ( Cinder Edna ) alert, bouncy animals; the illustrator's well-conceived compositions, broken horizontally between the fence and clouded blue sky, also keep Sidney central to each scene. Yet although the deft caricatures possess a certain grace, they, like the story, ultimately prove generic. Ages 3-up. (Aug.)