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An eminent poet and an eminent artist join forces to create an offbeat, garish, and probably controversial picture book. Tom visits eccentric Uncle Morton, who has an empty refrigerator and walls decorated with pictures by tire likes of CÉzanne and Rembrandt. As Uncle sleeps in, Tom discovers that the luscious-looking fruits can be plucked from the paintings; even Rembrandt emerges, itching for a stroll beyond the confines of his portrait and eager to sketch motorcycles. After convincing Rembrandt that Cezanne's still life must be reconstituted according to CÉzanne's original principles rather than arranged to suit himself, Tom gets the artist back into his frame just before Uncle Morton wakes up to observe that he sees something new in his Rembrandt each time he looks at it--in this case, the wild definitely 20th-century tie Rembrandt forgot to take off. Strand's prose is vigorous and unhackneyed, as is Grooms' reinterpretations of the old masters--the Cuyp on the title page and Rembrandt back in his frame are awesomely adept. There are plenty of interesting insinuations here; the parodic illustration of Tom watching TV, surrounded by monsters and superheroes, is a reminder that most kids' daily fare is at least as psychedelic as Grooms' style. Still, as a great splash of a book based on a small pebble of a ""what if?"" idea, it seems out of proportion to its significance, manipulative of both children who respond to its popular images and sophisticated adults who respond to its modish aesthetic content.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1986
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Potter--dist by Crown