cover image Pets]


Melrose Cooper. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-3893-4

Cooper's (I Got a Family) whimsical paean to pets is the ideal jumping-off point for Heo's (The Green Frogs) trademark carnival-esque pictures. The author uses unusual word images (pets that are ""finger-tweaking"" or ""kneeling-and-praying""), alliteration and a childlike rhyme scheme to get a bouncy, infectious beat going. Heo takes off in her own direction, filling her mixed-media collages with vibrant shades of yellow, orange, green and blue, and mellower tones of olive, salmon, beige and brown. When Cooper offers ""Sleek pets/ Slick pets/ Do-amazing-trick pets"", Heo responds with skirted reptiles, bicycle-riding greyhounds and showman monkeys; for ""Floppy pets/ Hoppy pets/ Seed-dropping-sloppy pets,"" Heo spatters the pages with off-kilter bunnies, leaping frogs and feasting parrots. The artwork is the standout here, with Cooper's choice of adjectives spurring on Heo's tendency toward surreal images and providing a strong frame for this airy fantasy, which ends on a down-to-earth note of love and appreciation for a real-life pet: ""A happy-as-can be pet/ A perfect-fit-for-me pet!"" Ages 4-7. (Mar.)