cover image The Getaway

The Getaway

Ed Vere, . . S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (34pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-4789-9

The “notorious cheese thief Fingers McGraw,” drawn as a pale-pink rat in a bandit mask, absconds with his favorite dairy product in this mixed-media spoof of the hardboiled genre. His nemesis is “ace lawman detective Jumbo Wayne Jr.,” a stern elephant in a bobby's blue-black gear (this book originated in the U.K.), and Fingers enlists readers' help in avoiding capture. Expository captions, printed in an uneven typewriter font, chart the crime Dragnet-style: “11:00 a.m. It's a race against time.” Colored voice bubbles, superimposed on photographs of gritty sidewalks, give Fingers's perspective. “Hey, kid! Yeah, you! Listen, you gotta do me a favor!” the rat hisses, whizzing by on a yellow moped. In an adult-friendly homage to Bogart and Bacall (almost certainly unappreciated by children), he instructs collaborators to signal if they see an elephant: “You know how to whistle, don't you? Just put your lips together and blow!” During the getaway, two flat gray feet imply the jig is up—but a turn of the page reveals a rhino. A long flexible schnozzola sniffs out the rat—but the nose belongs to an anteater. Vere (the Tag-along Tales board books) takes his cues from the photos-plus-comics sequences of Mo Willems's Knuffle Bunny and from the mock-naïve magic-marker drawings and collages of Lauren Child. Newspaper-clipping endpapers supply a backstory and postscript, reinforcements of the book's old-fashioned cops-and-robber parody. Ages 5-7. (Sept.)