LOOK AT ME by Charlotte Hall Ricks


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Any small child can identify with Catherine, whose ""Play with me,"" ""Look, I'm a monkey,"" ""I can do cartwheels,"" and other bids for her busy mother's attention are met with put-offs (""Not now"") and abstracted admonitions (""Very good, but watch out for the coffee table""). Neither swimming (in the bathtub), singing, playing the piano, or threatening to eat a hundred cookies has much effect on her mother; nor does ""I can fly out one window and in the other,"" though readers can see that Catherine is doing just that. What does work is announcing ""I can disappear,"" and then doing so. Mother is worried now, and when Catherine makes her price for returning 999 kisses, Mother comes through with a thousand. The departure into fantasy with Catherine's defiance of natural laws takes the stow just that far (and no farther) from a routine replay of a child's common feelings. Gusman's flat, boldly patterned close-up compositions also transcend the mundane realism such themes usually inspire, but they haven't the humor and punch of her illustrations for Crowley's The Bogey Man (1978), and her widefaced, button-eyed Catherine is both cutesy and unappealing.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1979
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin