cover image RUNAWAY DREIDEL!


Leslea Newman, , illus. by Kyrsten Brooker. . Holt, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6237-3

Set to the cadences of "The Night Before Christmas" ("Twas the first night of Chanukah and on the fifth floor/ There was holiday bustling and bustling galore"), Newman's (Matzo Ball Moon) verse narrative describes a runaway dreidel that finds a home in the night sky. The chief virtue of this forgettable tale may be its having occasioned more of Brooker's (Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street) idiosyncratic mixed-media art, oil paintings into which she seamlessly applies cut-paper photo elements. Everything in these illustrations is affectionately skewed, from the slightly oversize heads of the characters to the Brooklynesque street scenes occasioned by the boy narrator's pursuit of the toy. The dynamically dizzy world happily challenges readers to stay on their toes. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)