cover image Round the Garden

Round the Garden

Design Inc Higashi/Glaser, Omri Glaser, Omri Glasir. ABRAMS, $15.95 (34pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-4137-3

Asked to write a Japanese box poem in his first grade class, Byron Glaser's son, Omri (now eight years old), conceived a brief musing on the cycles of nature. When a tear provoked by a bee sting falls from a child's eye to the ground, it evaporates in the sun's heat, becomes part of a cloud ""that made the rain fall"" and gives nourishment to a vegetable garden where onions grow. Completing the cycle, the onions, when eaten, ""made the gardeners cry"" tears of pride and joy. The senior Glaser and Higashi (whose design firm also created the Zolo and Bonz toys) riff on this one-sentence text with boldly hued, digitally created full-bleed illustrations. Pages facing the text feature a single iconic image (the text reading ""that watered the garden,"" for instance, faces a slick image of a tomato on a field of pure turquoise); these alternate with double-page nature panoramas with a soup on of didacticism (e.g., each type of cloud in a pink and orange sky is carefully labeled). More often than not, the eye simply skates across the shiny surfaces; ultimately, this is a junior version of a coffee-table book. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)