cover image Babri


James Jacobs. Gibbs Smith Publishers, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-87905-622-3

Creating a story based on the Iranian-born artist's bright, exotic illustrations, Jacob intersplices cozy narrative and formal dialogues. While his mother naps, an energetic young tiger follows his curiosity into the forbidden jungle. At first Babri is so full of questions concerning the ways of other animals (why mice scurry, why squirrels hide nuts, why birds sing) that he doesn't notice he is lost. But when he remembers his mother, his attention suddenly focuses on finding a way home. Fish, who ""holds the secret of the world"" (""earth's knowledge washes down rivulets and streams to lodge in his gills""), advises Babri to find Elephant. In the course of his search, Babri taps his own ingenuity when he outwits Turtle and Crocodile. Amiri's technique of watercolors applied over paper collage produces a dynamic luminosity within precisely outlined forms. Together, text and illustrations shape a playful, benign tale of adventure and discovery. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)