cover image Bunnies, Crocodiles, and Me

Bunnies, Crocodiles, and Me

Peter Allen, Alain Crozon, Katja Gehrmann. ABRAMS, $14.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-4105-2

This anthology of 13 pieces, translated from the French and published in the same compact format as the publisher's Travel Tales, takes provocative stances on birth and babyhood. Each of the nine author/artists interprets ""baby beginnings"" in a radically different way. The title refers specifically to a story of twin rabbits, shown in white-on-black images that simulate sonograms, and to a comic strip about a croc who hatches from an egg and then tumbles into a soft-boiled breakfast. Gilles Eduar models the volcanic origins of earth and prehistoric life (""Some of the fish wanted to leave the water, and their fins became paws""), and he paints his primeval scenes on for-rent ads, indicating the evolution of terra firma. Peter Allen's ""Life Is Good"" wordlessly maps an infant's routine in pictograms gentle enough for a congratulations card. Katja Gehrmann favors a more rough-hewn approach. In her visceral ""Me,"" she pictures a peach-colored cow whose transparent belly reveals a contented fetal narrator. This earthy treatment of pregnancy is balanced by Muzo's humorous ""Little Monster,"" which uses the visible-uterus conceit to introduce a grouchy green creature (""And the minute he came out, the baby and his brother started fighting. The End""). Anne Brouillard's ""Lots of Little Things,"" painted in a fauvist manner in rainy-day hues, closes the book with a philosophical prose poem. An avant-garde yet amiable range of work. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)