In this arrestingly illustrated nonsense piece adapted from the Russian, a wispy-haired man answers unusual phone calls from a series of animals.
A crocodile sheds tears while demanding “delicious, nutritious galoshes,” some doves need gloves and baboons ask for spoons. Eventually, the telephone’s owner tires of the random queries, and when Kangaroo calls for Winnie-the-Pooh, he rhymingly suggests she try 555-1212. Abruptly segueing to a conclusion, the man responds to a rhinoceros’s SOS to save a hippo from a swamp (“Yuck. Just my luck,/ to get stuck/ hauling a hippo/ out of the muck!”). Tongue twisters and involved rhyme schemes demand that this book be read slowly, with attention to enunciation.
Radunsky (The Maestro Plays) amplifies the absurdism of the verse with boldly planed collages of paper, photos, string and feathers. He wittily references other art-historical moments with a jungle backdrop borrowed from Rousseau, a piggy version of Matisse’s The Dance and an otter reclining like an odalisque. The high visual energy overcomes the wayward motion of the text. Ages 5-8.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the author
Kornei Chukovsky (1880-1969) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is the author of many other popular children’s stories, in addition to Doctor Ouch.