cover image Singing Chick

Singing Chick

Victoria Stenmark. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-5255-8

Cecil's (Dear Dr. Sillybear) delicious artwork redeems a routine story. A singing chick is eaten by a fox, who begins to sing and peep: ""The sun is so yellow!... And I'm a happy fellow!"" An annoyed wolf eats the fox and is eaten in turn by a bear. Then a freak fall acts as a kind of Heimlich maneuver to dislodge all the swallowed animals. Cecil combines decorative kaleidoscopic scenes of flat, bright petals, round leaves and citrus fruits with a flair for humorous expressions and gestures. The texture of the brushstrokes is just visible in the solid colors of the oil paints. In a lovely symphony of orange, yellow and green, the fox and chick stand in a thicket of sunflowers, surrounded by masses of leaves, like a lush cartoon Gauguin. The book is well worth opening just to dwell in such landscapes. Ages 1-5. (Mar.)