cover image Professor Puffendorfs Secret Potions

Professor Puffendorfs Secret Potions

Robin Tzannes. Holmes & Meier Publishers, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56288-267-9

This deliciously wacky book exhibits all the best qualities of British outrageousness just this side of Monty Python. In these collaborators' capable hands, in fact, it resembles a cross between the works of Babette Cole and Edward Gorey. When noted scientist Professor Puffendorf must leave for a conference, her assistant, Enzo--``a lazy, grumbling fellow''--is left to clean up. No longer dwarfed by his boss's prestige and knowledge, Enzo begins to fantasize about being in charge. Unlocking a secret cabinet ``filled with mysterious potions,'' Enzo begins to play out his most ambitious fantasies. The conniving fellow tests one particular concoction on Chip, the professor's beloved guinea pig, and gets his just--and hilarious--deserts. These wild, unusually detailed illustrations boast broad caricatures worthy of Punch. Older children especially will relish the baroque humor as they pore over the pictures' myriad zany touches. One minor criticism: when the two-page spreads are split into two layers (top and bottom), it becomes difficult to know which block of text to read first. Ages 5-up. (July)