cover image My First Nursery Stories

My First Nursery Stories

Tony Ross. Andersen (IPG/Trafalgar, dist.), $19.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-84270-790-6

Droll dialogue and ample sound effects enhance the read-aloud appeal of the eight traditional stories in this companion to Three Little Kittens and Other Favorite Nursery Rhymes. Yet it is Ross's capricious artwork, filled with expressive, smartly dressed anthropomorphic animals and monsters that most entertains. Ross doesn't shy away from the grisly undertones of some of the tales: in the story of the Three Little Pigs, before his own demise, the wolf licks his lips as he holds a bowl containing the bones of the ill-fated second little pig, whose clothes lay nearby, and Little Red Riding Hood unsettlingly emerges from the body of the beheaded wolf. The book's design includes playfully arranged type that changes size for emphasis, perhaps most humorously in the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where the bears' voices appear in font sizes that correspond to their "great big," "middle-sized," and "little baby" voices. It's a welcoming entry to these perennial favorites, amplified by his waggish, off-beat interpretations. Up to age 5. (Mar.)