cover image Pecorino's First Concert

Pecorino's First Concert

Alan Madison, , illus. by AnnaLaura Cantone. . Atheneum/Schwartz, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-85952-6

Young Pecorino Sasquatch has a zucchini-size schnozzola, goofy asymmetrical eyeballs and a pet cat that resembles a raccoon (or lemur). He is described as "so silly that when it was cold he wore shorts and when it was hot he wore mittens," although he's more a klutz than a comedian. When his doting mother—with her golden gown and brunette beehive—announces that she's taking him to a concert featuring "the world famous conductor Vittorio Pimplelini," Pecorino doesn't know what she means, but he and his cat go along willingly. On the bus to the performance, he stares at a fellow passenger's voluminous black mustache until the annoyed man "storm[s] off the bus and into the great, green park, his wondrous mustache warbling in the wind." At the concert hall, Pecorino climbs onstage before the musicians arrive and gets stuck in a tuba—guess whose. Madison, making his debut, enjoys a well-embellished turn of phrase; a "Brobdingnagian blow" on the tuba shoots Pecorino free and into his mother's lap. Cantone (My Favorite Thing [According to Alberta] ) contributes mixed-media collages, detailed with swatches of sheet music, wiry tangles of red and black line, and red, aqua and mustard-brown brushstrokes. She and Madison labor to suggest hilarity, but zany names and pratfalls don't quite redeem this slapstick tale. Ages 4-8. (July)