Handsome wildlife paintings distinguish this book from McDonnell (I Love Animals, 1994, etc.). The setting is India in the summer, and, predictably, it’s “hot, hot, hot!” A mother elephant and her baby, a tiger, and a rhinoceros are all feeling the heat. Tongues loll, movement is limited; they barely shuffle to the wallow. Once there, they stand around until the baby elephant has an idea. He loads up and squirts a snootful at his mother; soon, all the animals are engaged in a splash fight that delights as much as it refreshes. McDonnell’s animals have a mythopoetic radiance, painted in colors that will have readers reaching for a cool drink. (Picture book. 3-6)
Toddler-size sleuths can match cheerful barnyard animals to their appropriate sounds in this sparkling board book from Wojtowycz. Each spread features the typical habitat for a familiar animal, such as a grassy paddock or a clear blue lake. One page frames the question about a typical animal sound, such as, “Who says . . . Oink Oink?” The answer will be one of four friendly farm animals—duck, cow, pig, and horse—suspended on a colored ribbon, which can be placed into a slot on the facing page. Jewel tones dominate the illustrations; the color-coordinated ribbons provide additional clues to the correct answers. Deceptively simple in appearance, this wonderfully resourceful book is packed with learning opportunities, including reading, since every creature is labeled on one side with its name. An engaging first look at some favorite animals of the toddler set. (Board book. 2-5)
Masterworks Of Latin American Short Fiction ($25.00; Oct. 1996; 400 pp.; 0-06-431502-9): A wonderful gathering of eight novellas, prefaced by a lengthy and knowledgeable introduction by Ilan Stavans, including rarely seen fiction from several of the greatest (and most neglected) modern and contemporary Latin American masters. Only Gabriel Garc°a M†rquez's deliciously fantastic ``The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother'' is at all familiar—and readers who appreciate his trademark magical realism will find brilliant variations on it in such memorable tales as Joo Guimares Rosa's ``My Uncle, the Jaguar'' (set in the Brazilian ``backlands'' immortalized in his novels and stories), Julio Cortazar's quicksilver portrayal of a jazz musician seemingly based on the figure of Charlie Parker (``The Pursuer''), and Felisberto Hernandez's ``The Daisy Dolls,'' a gothic surrealist fantasy reminiscent (and very nearly worthy) of Kafka. An invaluable anthology.