cover image Who's Whose?

Who's Whose?

Jan Ormerod. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14678-8

With bustling pen-and-inks and an energetic, sometimes tongue-twisting text, Ormerod (The Frog Prince) follows three families through a whirlwind week as they intermingle continually--and confusingly--and keep up schedules that will set readers' heads spinning. An action-filled page shows seven children on the move on Monday, as ""Josh rides his bike to school,/ Maggie drives Molly and Bugs in the car,/ and Mel and Bea walk, keeping an eye on Micky and Jimmy."" At first, it's nearly impossible to keep names and faces straight or, indeed, to discern ""who's whose"" parent, sibling or pet. But perceptive kids will soon pick up on the author's clever visual and textual clues: one is a family of redheads, one of blondes, one is African American; and alliterative names link the clans together--even down to Jock the dog, who belongs to Jenny, Jimmy and Josh. Ormerod breaks up her buoyant litany of activities with questions that will keep kids conjecturing: ""Who loves Granny Bea most?"" or ""Who is most tired at the end of the day?"" With spreads depicting such kid-pleasing chaos, this may be a difficult book to share: siblings are likely to fight over who gets to figure out who's who first. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)