cover image Hide-and-Squeak


Heather Vogel Frederick, illus. by C.F. Payne, Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-85570-2

Payne's (Late for School) elegant, cinematically styled paintings have a visceral, energetic mischief that brings to mind the best Tom and Jerry cartoons. "It's time for bed. It's time for sleep./ No more time for hide-and-squeak," but a mouse baby has other ideas. He leads his bespectacled and clearly willing father on a wild chase through every nook and cranny of the house (yes, the mouse runs up the clock, as well as executes an exhilarating cannonball into the bathtub). Large geometric shapes, subtle but highly evocative texturing, and warm, rich colors anchor Payne's settings, amplifying the baby mouse's inexhaustible energy and giddy transgressiveness, while buoying Frederick's (Babyberry Pie) rock solid, somewhat quaint rhymes ("There's my little rascal,/ hiding in the froth" she writes in the aftermath of the bathtub scene). The spreads are small masterpieces of composition, yet they never feel static; rather, it's as if someone has hit the pause button to briefly allow readers to savor the image's beauty before the story continues on its rollicking way to the bedtime wrap-up. Ages 3–6. (Feb.)