For older readers, a genuinely eerie picture book, which Crew (Bright Star, 1997, etc.) and Woolman have constructed as a kind of puzzle. The haunting watertower sits outside of town like an egg on legs, or like a lurid green broken spaceship. One blisteringly hot summer day, Spike and Bubba decide to go for a swim inside the watertower, where the cool water beckons. Bubba is uneasy; when they emerge, he discovers his pants are gone, and sends Spike home to fetch another pair. What happens then, as the hyperreal illustrations focus on the tower and the town, is unclear, but one of the pair of boys is transformed, and he is not alone in that transformation. The broken circle logo on the watertower appears on many pages, a clue to an alien presence or some more earthly invasion of the quiet little town. It may be hard to coax middle graders back into a picture book, but they will certainly give themselves a shiver or two in these pages.