MICAWBER

John Lithgow, Author, C. F. Payne, Illustrator , illus. by C.F. Payne. S&S $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-689-83341-0

The team behind The Remarkable Farkle McBride returns with another high-spirited tale celebrating the arts. While young Farkle found joy in orchestral music, Micawber the squirrel is a lover of the fine art of painting. The refined New York City rodent makes a weekly scamper from his Central Park nest to the nearby "palace on Fifth Avenue" (the Metropolitan Museum of Art), where he can "feast... his eyes and his heart" on countless masterworks. On one such museum visit Micawber stows away among an art student's supplies and winds up in the woman's apartment, where he clandestinely uses her equipment to paint his own canvases, substituting his bushy tail for a brush. As months pass, the benign bandit assembles his own colorful gallery in his home atop the park's carousel. In a tighter, more linear text than Farkle, Lithgow conveys the sense of discovery and emotional enjoyment one can experience while observing or creating art. The vast majority of lines here have a musical rhythm, though young readers may need to puzzle out the meaning of words like "peregrination." Payne's mixed-media compositions capture an area of Manhattan at its clean, sunny best. His varying perspectives and occasionally paint-splattered backgrounds embrace all the exhilaration of Lithgow's words. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

FYI:Included is a CD recording of Lithgow reading his text.

Reviewed on: 06/24/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-0-689-83542-1
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