cover image Too Big!

Too Big!

Claire Masurel, Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $13.95 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-2090-5

Wakiyamas (Humphrey the Lost Whale) fresh, distinctive artwork and Masurels (Christmas Is Coming) understated story infuse this toy tale with quiet originality. Whats too big is a boys blue-and-white striped dinosaur named Tex. While the smaller toys get to accompany the boy everywhere, Tex never went to the beach. He never went to a baseball game. He never went anywhere. Poor Tex! The illustration shows the dinosaur gazing woefully out the window, holding the curtain aside. But when its time to go to the doctor, the other toys hide; only loyal Tex is ready and waiting with his mild smile and a red hat and scarf. Wakiyamas atmospheric oil paintings feature characters with a smooth, rounded quality reminiscent of William Joyces inventions, but with a palette of soft blues, yellows and reds that lend the figures a weightless quality (Tex appears to be inflated). The artists use of unexpected perspectives is all her own; for instance, a pair of before-and-after porthole-shaped paintings shows the boy delivering the pitch that wins him Tex as a prize, with the ball and cans (once stacked as a pyramid) breaking the circular frame. The delightfully peculiar artwork seems so right that it feels already familiar, like an heirloom teddy bear; the light, whimsical style fits the fantasy of animated toys especially well. Just like Tex, kids will want to take this winner of a book everywhere. Ages 2-6. (May)