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NIKOLAI GOGOL'S THE NOSE by Catherine Cowan

NIKOLAI GOGOL'S THE NOSE

adapted by Catherine Cowan & illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Age Range: 5 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-10464-9

 Tucking into his morning loaf, Ivan the barber discovers the nose of the Deputy Inspector of Reindeer. Not wanting trouble, Ivan lets the offending item slip from his fingers and into the river while crossing a bridge on the way to his shop. Elsewhere, the Deputy Inspector of Reindeer awakes to a noseless mug. On his way to the police, the Deputy Inspector happens to notice his nose riding by in an open carriage, all done out in finery, clearly putting on airs. He confronts the nose, but the nose denies any connection. Later that night, a policeman retrieves the Deputy Inspector's nose, which, despite some hesitation, returns to its former lodging. It is too much to expect the punch of the original, but a bit more of the story's satirical edge could have been captured by Cowan. What emerges is a whimsical little number, humorous and entertaining, with all the subversive pungency gone. Hawkes's acrylics are nice and bright, often giving a fish-eyed loopiness to the scenes, and deftly summon the Russian townscape. Any book that inspires children to read Gogol (as this one does), and that doesn't butcher the original in the process (as this one doesn't), is well worth the asking price. (Picture book. 5+)