cover image Toads on Toast

Toads on Toast

Linda Bailey, illus. by Colin Jack. Kids Can, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55453-662-7

Bailey (Stanley's Little Sister) ventures into scary, gobbling-up territory in the first few pages of this clever story as a carnivorous fox decides that young toads are tastier than old toads ("Ah, here's a good one," Fox says, thumbing through recipes as the toadlets he's caught wait wide-eyed on the counter). Luckily, Mamma Toad shows up promptly to rescue her children and, in a nice bait and switch, suggests Toad-in-a-Hole ("It has toast," she says. "You like toast, right?"). She plays Fox like a pro, fielding every objection. "What about the toads?" he asks. "Try it without," she says. "It doesn't really need toads." Thanks to Bailey's crackerjack dialogue, all Jack (1 Zany Zoo) has to do is supply appropriate pictures, which he does in loose, humorous cartoons that portray the fox in a dapper vest and natty cap, and Mamma with the red hair and elastic lips of Lucille Ball. A recipe for Toad-in-a-Hole is included. Children in foodie households accustomed to discussions of how dishes are prepared will take to this%E2%80%94and they'll probably enjoy Toad-in-a-Hole, too. Ages 3%E2%80%937. (Sept.)