cover image Ves Al Reves!

Ves Al Reves!

Jeanne Willis, Tony Ross. Fondo de Cultura Economica, Mexico, $8.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-968-16-8534-8

PreSchool-2-Translation is an art, and this nifty rendition of Jeanne Willis's quintessentially British-toned fable is as fine an example of depicting the language and tone of the original as one could wish. When Mrs. Bat moves into the neighborhood, the jungle's little ones are convinced that she is seriously deranged. She wants an umbrella to keep her feet dry, and claims that too much rain will raise the level of the river and wet her ears. And it's a good thing that she has that umbrella too, because ""down there,"" in the sky, she can see a huge cloud. Entirely certain that umbrellas keep your head-not your feet-dry, that the river's rising levels get your feet-not your ears-wet, and that the sky is up-not down-, the concerned baby giraffe, elephant, lion, and rhino report Mrs. Bat's absurd claims to the wise old owl. After ascertaining the source of the senseless pronouncements, the owl prompts the youngsters to hang upside down and report on what they see. Sure enough, viewed from Mrs. Bat's standpoint, the sky is down, the river will wet the ears first, and umbrellas do keep your feet dry. Apologies tendered and accepted, a lesson about viewing the world from another's perspective is thus gently provided. Ross's humor infused ink-and-watercolor cartoon illustrations round off this subtly didactic title. Highly recommended for all collections, as well as for English Language Learners (ELL) programs. Reviewed by Ann Welton, Grant Center for the Expressive Arts, Tacoma, WA