MERWIN by Christopher Hart


Master of Disguise
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 5
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Cartoonist and bestselling author of drawing books, Hart’s first picture book is goofy all over, but whether or not that is intentional is open to debate. Merwin is an elephant at the local zoo who makes periodic escapes from his adopted home under various disguises to go to the mall, of all places. On this particular occasion, he actually steals a zoo-goer’s clothing and car to see a movie, which seems more thuggish than naughty. It also happens that this is the day the owner of the zoo is to pay an inspection visit and he expects all the animals to be in attendance, including the notorious Merwin. A frantic pursuit by the zookeeper, who tries desperately to see through Merwin’s disguises, doesn’t square with the art (Saturday cartoon show, with many clenched teeth and flailing arms), in which Merwin is plainly visible and none of the pleasures of hide-and-seek are in evidence. Merwin does pull a fast one on the zookeeper by claiming he is Merwin in disguise, giving a small “what is reality” twist to the story, but it’s not enough to elevate it beyond its one-note joke into an entertainment. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8230-3049-0
Page count: 32pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2002