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WHAT IN THE WORLD? by Eve Merriam


by Eve Merriam & illustrated by Barbara J. Phillips-Duke

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1998
ISBN: 0-694-01036-7
Publisher: HarperFestival

In yet another reworking of an old title (see Zolotow, below), Merriam’s 36-year-old rhymed guessing game shows no signs of its age: Decked out in Phillips-Duke’s colored, high-contrast artwork and fold-out pages, it is as fresh as ever. Six simple riddles, with answers concealed under flaps, comprise the entire book, with cats, frogs, rabbits, a mouse, and a monkey as the featured performers. “What in the world/goes gnawing and pawing/scratching and latching/sniffing and squiffing/nibbling for tidbits of leftover cheese? Please?” This brand of happy-go-lucky language characterizes the book, which demonstrates Merriam’s well-chronicled delight in the sheer musicality of words; the riddles are pitched to gently provoke rather than confound. The heavy stock used in the book’s production will likely withstand rigorous and multiple flips of the flaps. (Picture book. 3-6)