Although couched in bombastic rhyme and grotesque illustrations, Schnitzlein's debut simply rehashes a truism: kids will do anything to avoid eating their greens. In "Night Before Christmas" verse, the boy narrator describes three encounters with a garbage beast, whose "big bloated body was broccoli-green,/ And his breath, when he sneered, reeked of rotten sardines." When the hulking creature proposes to devour the boy's peas in exchange for a soccer ball, the boy accepts. He haggles with the monster at subsequent mealtimes, but when it tries to take his dog, he desperately gulps a pea and has a Green Eggs and Ham epiphany: "That pea didn't taste like I thought that it would./ I had to admit it. That pea tasted good!" Faulkner's (The Moon Clock) fearsome illustrations recall David Catrow's hyperbolic paintings; the bloated monster, which has purple-gray tentacles and an eggplant nose, emerges from the trash and lurks under tables. Yet suspense is controlled by the clockwork verse, which steadily advances toward the boy's revelation and the banishment of the devilish tempter. For an original approach to yucky vegetables, Yaccarino and McCauley's The Lima Bean Monster (Children's Forecasts, July 30) makes a better choice. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to theHardcoveredition.