cover image What! Cried Granny

What! Cried Granny

Kate Lum, Adrian Johnson. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2382-5

This chuckler of a bedtime romp pits the wiles of a young procrastinator against his no-nonsense grandmother. Patrick's grandmother announces that it's time for bed. "" `But Granny,' said Patrick.... `I don't have a bed here.' `What?' cried Granny."" Thus begins the pleasingly repetitive structure of the text. A whirlwind of efficiency, this spry and resourceful granny--sporting reading glasses, pearls and a smart black handbag--makes a beeline for the yard, where she chops down a tree, carries it to her workroom and proceeds to make him a bed, following extensive blueprints. No pillow? No problem: a quick trip to the henhouse produces the needed feathers; and of course, Granny is a master seamstress. Finally all of Patrick's comforts are secured and Granny orders him to bed. ""But Granny... it's morning,"" Patrick replies. Lum's forthright text plays straight man to Johnson's elastic artwork, which stretches the story's humorous elements with a kind of manic glee. With their beady eyes, poker faces and exaggerated hairdos (Granny sports a lavender beehive; Patrick an Elvis-esque swoop), Patrick and his Granny make a bracingly droll pair. The pages hum with visual energy, from the dotted white lines that follow Granny as she zips about, to the puckishly retro palette (lime green paired with purple, fiery orange with red, and so on) applied in blocky shapes la Bruce Ingman. Sleepy sheep counting businessmen as they jump over fences and a glimpse of The Avengers on Granny's small black-and-white TV add to the eye-popping fun. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)