cover image Meet Wild Boars

Meet Wild Boars

Meg Rosoff. Henry Holt & Company, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7488-8

Bad behavior is utterly unacceptable, of course--but it sure makes for a terrific spectator sport. That's the mindset Rosoff (How I Live Now ) and Blackall (Ruby's Wish ) expertly tap into as they present four incorrigible boars named Boris, Morris, Horace and Doris. ""If you try to help Horace with his mittens, he will make a nasty smell and snort with laughter. Snort snort snort ,"" writes Rosoff, as Blackall shows the boar assuming a pose of civil disobedience in the cubby area of a classroom, a cloud of green gas expelling from his behind. And if a boar were invited over for a playdate and acted like a helpless shrinking violet who sought the comfort of the host's favorite toy, beware: ""Given half a chance (or even less) Doris will eat your very best whale, flippers and all."" Blackall's hulking, hairy boars--each adorned in comically ill-fitting clothing--make a wonderful visual articulation of and counterpoint to Rosoff's arch, mock-cautionary prose. In fact, they're so vivid in their steely-eyed determination to wreak comic havoc that the book's reader surrogates--a boy and girl who bear witness to and act as foils for all the boars' shenanigans--pale in comparison (the children's oddly flat, almost paper-doll mien does not help, either). Besides, youngsters don't really need any cues on how to project themselves into scenarios such as these--they'll relish tut-tutting such an uncouth crew, while secretly delighting in the boars' unmitigated chutzpah. Ages 3-8. (May)