cover image Where Do I End and You Begin?

Where Do I End and You Begin?

Shulamith Oppenheim, illus. by Monique Felix. Creative Editions, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56846-274-5

Exquisite visual transformations accompany equally polished verse in this contemplation of togetherness. "Where do I end and you begin?/ Asked the cat/ of its tail,/ Asked the shell/ of the snail," begins Oppenheim (Rescuing Einstein's Compass). The black cat, realistically rendered in watercolor and pencil, stalks across a white page, its tail (and the section of verse in which the tail is mentioned) revealed after a page turn. The tail morphs into a winding tunnel, within which a gray mouse peers up at the night sky. Elsewhere, a wooden recorder becomes a branch dotted with red berries (a similarly musical songbird perches on it), and a snowy landscape is transformed into the torso of a pale brown deer. A boy and girl reappear throughout, and their embrace at book's end supplies the answer to Oppenheim's riddle: "And I know when we hug%E2%80%94/ That's the place you meet me!" There's not a single misstep in the lulling language and rhythms of Oppenheim's verse, and Felix (Good Ship Crocodile) matches it with gentle illustrations, creating a parallel magic that captivates from start to finish. Ages 6%E2%80%93up. (Sept.)