A silly ostrich hides in plain sight.
An ironic counterpoint between the text and the art has words asserting the eponymous ostrich’s hiding abilities while illustrations make the enormous bird humorously conspicuous from one page to the next. “I’ve been keeping an eye on them. They are experts at blending into their surroundings,” claims the narrator. The accompanying art shows the ostrich precariously perched on a sagging telephone wire, with two diminutive robins peering up the length of its pink neck. The ostrich’s bulging eyes gaze nervously up at the telephone pole, and there’s just no way to say that its black-and-white feathered body blends in with the sky behind it. Subsequent humorous spreads continue to exclaim at the ostrich’s ostensibly successful efforts at hiding while the illustrations make it appear obvious and awkward on every spread. At the book’s end the offstage narrator speculates that the ostrich tries to hide in order to “steal food from the squirrels” as the art depicts it gobbling a birdfeeder whole. Then a fallen peanut causes the narrator to reveal itself, as it speculates that maybe it will get a snack if it becomes “AN UNDERCOVER ELEPHANT.” Here and throughout this one-joke picture book, the watercolor-and-pencil illustrations carry the bulk of the humor. The picture of the rotund pachyderm trying to hide behind a narrow tree is funny, but the verbal punchline doesn’t quite land.
Silly stuff. (Picture book. 3-7)