cover image Tailypo]


Jan Wahl. Henry Holt & Company, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0687-2

An old man is visited in his lonely cabin by ``a Creature with a great , big , long tail.'' He lops the tail off, cooks it up and gobbles it down--thus earning several nocturnal visits from the Creature, who demands the return of his ``tailypo'' and finally achieves it by ingesting the old man. Wahl's ( Humphrey's Bear ) lively but vividly gruesome African-American tale is best suited to children at the upper end of the suggested range and to those who can tolerate a scary story. It uses onomatopoeia and repetitions effectively to build tension, and would be especially shivery if read aloud. Clay, making his children's book debut, adds acrylics that are evocative of setting and mood and in some cases quite gory in their own right. Occasionally, however, a predominance of neon pinks and oranges results in a garish rather than supernatural effect. Ages 5-8. (May)