cover image Toes Are to Tickle

Toes Are to Tickle

Shen Roddie. Tricycle Press, $13.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-1-883672-49-2

A series of child's definitions for everyday objects and concepts fuels Roddie's (Mrs. Wolf) often disarming book. Loosely arranged around a day in the life of a girl and her baby brother, it begins with ""Morning is for waking up"" and ends with ""Mommy is for one more cuddle... one more story... and kissing good night."" The examples are all apt, and some are sure to elicit giggles (""A purse is to empty,"" ""Peas are for counting""). Unfortunately, the phrase-book structure doesn't support a start-to-finish read-through--as the number of definitions builds, so does a certain monotony. What revives the reader's interest are Denton's (Would They Love a Lion?) watercolors. Dominated by cozy tones of orange, the palette balances the impish spirit of the compositions. The size and framing of the illustrations also vary: a spread usually consists of one full-page drawing facing several smaller renderings, and squared-off tableaux alternate with more energetic scenes that float in white space. It proves to be an savvy visual strategy, giving the book a much-needed texture and drive. Ages 2-5. (June)