cover image One, Two, Three, Jump!

One, Two, Three, Jump!

Penelope Lively. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82201-8

A sharp-eyed dragonfly looks out for a young frog, urging him to jump just in time to avoid getting stepped on or picked off by a crow, until he is safely ensconced in a little pond. Lively (Goodnight, Sleep Tight) creates a pleasing interaction of repetition and variation, and the spirited, stubborn frog hardly obeys blindly. Oversize type conveys action and vehemence. Ormerod (Ms. Macdonald Has a Class), in often close-up artwork, provides a cross-sectioned, frog's-eye-view that includes the dangers the frog does not yet see and sets blocky forms against an azure background. The watery, bright and blurred tones of the dragonfly's wings stand out against the flat, vivid colors of the other animals and environment, endowing the insect with a fairylike presence. The compositions manage to be both simple and inventive: the artist often tweaks basic geometric forms to make them into patterns of grass blades, daisies or pebbles running across the spread. The delectably bright artwork and the rapport between kindly dragonfly and headstrong little frog make this a satisfying book. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)