ALBERT'S PLAY by Leslie Tryon
Kirkus Star


Email this review


The second book from this talented author-illustrator is as delightfully fresh and innovative as Albert's Alphabet (1991). The trusty goose, it seems, is not just a carpenter; he's also the genius behind the school play, The Owl and the Pussycat. From the moment the little animals group for auditions (the pig hopes for, and gets, the role of pussy-cat, while the piggy-wig is played by a hedgehog), Tryon skillfully orchestrates the necessary preparations (construction of masks and sets goes busily forward during rehearsals on stage) and childlike dramas (Pussy-cat gets the jitters right before curtain time) in cleverly phrased verse that mimics the form of Lear's poem, and in her splendid illustrations, crammed with entrancing details. Subtle gestures reveal character; a checklist epitomizes Albert's serene efficiency; the goose and a little owl are glimpsed hanging stars from the catwalk, far above the stage (safe for them: they have wings). Then, a broad double spread showing the closed curtain gives a dramatic sense of expectation; a priceless view of a comically classic school-play audience of animal relatives, including excited younger siblings; and the play itself, the illustrative style subtly modulated to suggest the theatrical illusion. In soft color-pencil art, the animals are as winsome and full of character as Hoban's Frances, the bustle orderly and satisfyingly productive. Any school would be fortunate to have the unflappable Albert--and every child should have a chance to meet him.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1992
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Atheneum