cover image Fall Mixed Up

Fall Mixed Up

Bob Raczka, illus. by Chad Cameron. Carolrhoda, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7613-4606-7

With giddy abandon, Cameron's (A Day with No Crayons) bustling, mixed-media artwork has fun with this story's gleefully wacky premise. Moving from windswept, daytime panoramas to shadowy evenings, the pictures leave no doubt that much is awry this autumn: a boy bites into an orange apple as kids in a hot-air balloon attempt to capture leaves that rise rather than fall from trees. Raczka's (Guyku) merry, rat-a-tat verse reveals that animals' behavior is also askew: "Bears gather nuts./ Geese hibernate./ Squirrels fly south in/ big figure eights." Readers will eagerly scour illustrations to decipher the text's ramifications. On a spread in which "Hats cover hands./ Gloves cover ears./ Bonfires cool off our/ fronts and our rears," the children's reversed glove and hat placement is obvious; less so is the ice covering the marshmallows that they (and a snowman) roast over a fire. Even observant kids may not pick up on all of the art's switcheroos on the first read, and will gladly follow Raczka's parting directive to "Go back and find all the/ things that aren't right." Ages 4%E2%80%939. (Sept.)