cover image Those Are Not My Underpants!

Those Are Not My Underpants!

Melissa Martin, illus. by Troy Cummings. Random House, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-984831-89-7

When Bear Cub finds a pair of tighty-whities hanging on a tree limb, “No name. No tag, ” he decides to find the owner. And that means readers get a comprehensive, played-straight-but-giggle-inducing tour of animal tushies, each one covered with an undergarment befitting anatomy, habitat requirements, or individual style. Snake wears “looooong” underwear that looks like a tube of red striped flannel; Bat’s underwear glows in the dark of a deep cave; and Moose flashes a toothy grin when he shows off “EXTRA LARGE” red undershorts emblazoned with pink hearts. And the plain pair? Attentive readers will note that Bear Cub himself isn’t wearing any underwear, and Mom—confusingly, not wearing any herself—gently reminds the ursine youth she washed and hung his pair on the tree limb the night before. Martin (Tessie Tames Her Tongue) builds in pleasing narrative rhythm through the repetition of Bear Cub’s friendly interrogation (“Hi Moose. Are these your underpants?” “No... Those are not my underpants.” “Are you sure?”) that leads up to each undergarment’s reveal, while Cummings’s (the Notebook of Doom series) bold graphic pictures, reminiscent of vintage national park posters, create a colorful and benevolent world for Bear Cub and readers to explore together. Ages 3–7. [em]Author’s agent: Mary Cummings, Betsy Amster Literary. (May) [/em]