cover image Lucky Hares and Itchy Bears

Lucky Hares and Itchy Bears

Susan Ewing. Alaska Northwest Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-88240-475-2

This humorous rhyming revue features 15 animals from the Pacific Northwest. Accompanied by exuberant hand-colored lino-cuts, doggerel verse sings the eccentricities of each critter. Ewing (The Great Alaska Nature Factbook) homes in on kid-pleasing peculiarities, from the peripatetic caribou (``Yoo-hoo, Caribou, where are you going now?/ Is migration like vacation? Excuse me? Mrs. Cow?'') to the toothy walrus (``Tusks are used for other tasks, but if I may be honest,/ If I had teeth like that I'd call my brother's orthodontist''). Set against lively backgrounds that loosely evoke each animal's habitat, first-time illustrator Zerbetz's eye-grabbing illustrations raise the energy level with their dynamic lines and vibrant composition. Although the verse does not always maintain a solid punch, the instructive purpose is well served: readers will probably remember these animals long after this book is read. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)