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Imaginary Menagerie

Press: Chronicle Books (October 1, 1997)
Author Name:Longfellow, Layne


Combining rhyming text, see-through windows and fold-out pages, a volume which encourages children to use their imaginations as they encounter a parade of colourful creatures. 
Illustrated by Woodleigh Marx Hubbard.

From Booklist

Ages 4^-6. 
There are many books in which children look through a cut-out square and, from the piece they can see, try to deduce the whole image.
That's what happens here, but the art is jazzier than in most books of this sort; that makes the guessing-game aspect a little harder and also more fun.
Each spread begins, "If I had a .
." Clever readers will then guess the animal hidden on the next page.
But there is another surprise: the page folds out showing the animal at some silly, rhyming enterprise, such as the spider ("We'd hide her") or the dog ("We'd jog").
The Matisse-like artwork is vibrantly colored in pure hues; satiny-textured backgrounds add another welcome dimension.
A handsome, clever book for children alone or in groups.
Ilene Cooper

From Kirkus Reviews

Longfellow's confection is a busy child's delight: The creatures in the imaginary menagerie are slowly revealed, first in peeks through square die-cut holes, then in full-page portraits, and finally in fold-out spreads that deliver the punch lines. 
The text is set in simple rhyme of couplets that turn on word repetition: ``If I had a .
cat/We'd wear a hat, hat, hat'' The mood is loopy and comfortably eccentric; readers will join in hiding spiders, jogging with dogs, reading with centipedes, conveying the mail with a snail.
Fun can be had on a number of levels here--a couple of guessing games, at the identity of each creature, at the choice of rhyme (there are clues).
Hubbard's companionable illustrations use a bold, flat, richly patterned gouache; these swirl with color and use inventive creatures in impressive positions, e.g., a giraffe rolling on the floor with laughter.
(Picture book.
4-8) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.


Children's Books,Humor

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Comment List (Total:2)

  •     Adorable book.

  •     Simple and beautiful to look at, this short "story" revolving around whimsical animals facinates my now 10-month-old son every time we read it together. The rhyming, repeating words never fail to make him smile and the interactive format (revealing, fold-out pages) have engaged him to the point that we have destroyed our first copy and are now on to our second. On our bookshelf, this is my son's favorite along with Rolie Polie Olie and Black Cat White Cat, 2 other "rhyme-written" stories...


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