Donnelly, a cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine, brings her twisty imagination to strange happenings in Sally’s backyard.
For starters, when Sally goes outside, there’s a hippo in the yard. “Mom, we have a hippo in our yard,” yips Sally, flying through the backdoor. “I don’t think so, dear,” replies Mom, nose buried in the newspaper (there’s a rare touch). Sally returns to the backyard with a little lettuce for the hippo, then spies a tiger in a tree. “Dad, we have a tiger in our tree!” Dad can’t unglue himself from the monitor—though he does offer a rhyme: “No, Sally. That can’t be.” Sally, catching on: “Come see! Come see!” Then Dad lets it crumble: “Maybe later.” Both sib Liz (“Go away”) and Nana (“You can give them some grapes”) find Sally’s claims—zebras! koalas!—a bit far-fetched. They’ll get their comeuppance in this sly take on the unexpected, which celebrates the little subversions in our lives that undermine everyday rules. Donnelly’s ink-and-watercolor artwork has a steady energy, finely choreographed and sure of hand while possessing a delicacy that makes for a nifty encounter between child and beast, while the elders totally lose their cool. Sally has an energetic mop of yellow hair, jeans, and a white T-shirt; the whole family is white.
“I told you!” Ah...words of gratification. (Picture book. 4-7)