ALERT! by Etienne Delessert


Age Range: 6 - 8
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Veteran Delessert’s latest fable features a mole who loses a treasure thanks to a trickster able to play on his fears. Having painstakingly gathered a trove of pretty rocks, Tobias is eager to show it off to a visiting mole. When that visitor warns him that robbers are coming, Tobias frantically and repeatedly disperses the pebbles into hiding places, then brings them back together so that he can keep watch. Eventually he falls into exhausted sleep, and when he wakes he finds, along with a mocking note, all but one stone gone. In keeping with his concept’s complexity, Delessert takes an expressionistic angle on the illustrations, depicting a misshapen Tobias with a smiling, birdlike face, giving him marble-like stones with lustrous patterns and adding ominous imagined figures and swirls of color as evocations of panic and worry. Considering Tobias’s emotional investment in his possessions, his instant recovery from the theft isn’t as credible as his earlier indecisiveness, but the (apparent) point about not trusting strangers is always worth discussing, and Delessert’s art is always worth a look. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 26th, 2007
ISBN: 0-618-73474-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2007


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