Children waiting for an absurdist chapter book need tap their toes no more.
“Claude’s best friend,” readers are told, “is Sir Bobblysock. He is both a sock and quite bobbly.” (Oddly, the sock in the illustration, though striped, looks quite smooth.) Readers should be warned: The Claude series is full of jokes that are clever but extremely bewildering. This may be a book for a rarified audience. It’s a story about a dog who’s compulsively neat. When he goes to a golf course, he fills in the holes and picks up the untidy balls littering the grass. Fans of Amelia Bedelia will find this sort of thing hilarious, but some of the jokes are positively surreal. Amelia Bedelia’s socks never danced “a high-stepping jig.” The climax has everything a child could want in a book. Claude hangs from a tightrope, throws custard pies and is shot out of a cannon.
Some readers may wonder why Claude needs to give “the high wire a once-over with a damp cloth,” but surrealists probably won’t complain. (Fiction. 7-9)