cover image The Escape of Marvin the Ape

The Escape of Marvin the Ape

Caralyn Buehner. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1123-5

An opportune moment arrives during feeding time at the zoo, and Marvin the ape (whose suitcase has been packed in preparation) has ``slipped out.'' He proceeds to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of New York City, thrilled at his every turn. The peripatetic primate manages to elude the police who are looking for him as--amazingly--he fits into any crowd unnoticed. With the odds in his favor, Marvin savors his new life of freedom. Though the Buehners' text amounts to little more than a typical tourist's agenda, their vocabulary choices and turns of phrase imbue this romp with an appealing sense of wonder. Mark Buehner's ( The Adventures of Taxi Dog ) oil and acrylic paintings brim with kinetic energy. He employs varying perspectives to great effect as Marvin swings from tree branches, rides the Staten Island ferry and scales an apartment building's facade. The ape's facial expressions and the reactions--and non-reactions--of the people around him provide a wry wit that makes the story almost believable, despite its silly premise. Of particular note is Buehner's skill in depicting sunlight and shadow, and his clever use of big-city details. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)