cover image Peeping Beauty

Peeping Beauty

Mary Jane Auch. Holiday House, $17.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1001-9

With the same clever and amusing chic of The Easter Egg Farm, Auch here zeroes in on the girls in the henhouse for another snappy tale. Aspiring to be the first hen ballerina, Poulette ``did warm-up stretches and dreamed of stardom.'' In spite of the clucking of well-meaning friends, she contemplates joining forces with an attentive promoter--a fox with foul intentions. (``After your performance, we'll have a lovely dinner,'' he promises. ``Only one of you will be eating,'' warns Poulette's friend Zelda.) Lured by an exquisite tutu (``I brought this . . . from New York especially for you''), Poulette abandons all good sense and agrees to dance the starring role. The wily fox makes an unexpected appearance in the finale, but the hens have a finale of their own planned. Poulette proves to be an exemplary heroine, by turns dynamic, resourceful and ambitious--and always supremely funny. Auch's phraseology brims with savvy style, while her lively, character-packed spreads showcase the antics of a fetching cast--the sight of Poulette's skinny gams encased in legwarmers is, even by the ballet world's high ticket, well worth the price of admission. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)