cover image Special Delivery

Special Delivery

Brigitte Weninger. NorthSouth, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7358-1318-2

One morning the postman delivers a new vacuum cleaner in a large carton, and later that afternoon a box addressed to ""Mother"" appears on the doorstep (astute readers will note similar markings on both packages). ""What's this?"" says Mother. A guessing game ensues as she imagines (with a wink) what might be inside. She feels ""something soft and furry""; could it be a stuffed toy? Finally she opens the box flap by flap to find a pop-up surprise, her son: ""It was one of a kind. And it was absolutely wonderful! ME!"" Weninger (the author of the Davy books) creates a realistic and fun scenario based on the irresistible lure an empty cardboard box has for a child. The book will keep preschoolers guessingDand wriggling with suspenseDright through the buildup to the satisfying conclusion. Reichstein (The Eagle and the Wren) extends the conceit with drawings that picture the box's imagined contents (a big rubber ball pictured on a playground, a fat kitten) in a series of softly shaded X-ray views. The sleek design enhances the overall theme: the binding looks and feels like cardboard, cutout ""handles"" offer a peek at the endpapers and ""stickers"" proclaim the title, author, illustrator and so on. Ages 3-7. (Nov.)