cover image No! Said Joe

No! Said Joe

Vivian French, John Prater. Candlewick Press (MA), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-037-6

When Joe flatly refuses to go shopping with his parents, they suggest some alternate destinations--a visit to a wicked witch, perhaps (``She'll make you eat disgusting things, / Like snake and spider stew, / Or slug and worm spaghetti-- / Is that all right with you?''), or a giant, or a haunted house. Joe is delighted with these possibilities, and Prater wrings every drop of visual humor from his juxtaposition of the parents' (tongue-in-cheek) threats with the benign creatures the boy imagines. Both witch and giant, for example, look suspiciously like cheerful grandparents, with the ``dreadful'' giant decked out in Fair Isle vest and spectacles. In the end, their strategy thwarted, Joe's parents deliver an ultimatum that finally lights a fire under the obstinate tot. Prater is tuned in to the workings of the preschool mind, and in his chipper pen-and-wash sketches and rhyming text, harried parents will recognize the desperate measures sometimes necessary to mobilize an ornery child. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)