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THE PRESENT by Michael Emberley


by Michael Emberley & illustrated by Michael Emberley

Age Range: 4 - 11

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-316-23411-7
Publisher: Little, Brown

 The author of Ruby (1990) creates another charmingly original story, this time set in rural Denmark. Arne, proprietor of a fix-it shop, is reminded by the postman (who seems to have read Arne's mail) that his nephew Tove's 12th birthday is coming up; Arne will need to find a present. In the busy village market, he finds a 17-blade knife, fixes it up--then, deciding to keep it, repairs an old bike as a substitute. He's so fat that he's a precarious rider, but off he wobbles on his present--only to be greeted by Tove with his fine new bike. Never mind; the knife still in Arne's pocket makes the perfect gift, and now they can ride bikes together. Told with wry good humor and some comical repetitions (a true Dane, Arne consumes pickled herring at every opportunity), but the illustrations are the most fun: dogged, a little foolish, but endearing, Arne searches the market, labors in his shop, or careens on the bike, sometimes appearing dozens of times across a double-spread landscape as if appearing in the frames of a film sequence. Lighthearted and innovative: a story to amuse older children as well as its intended audience. (Picture book. 4-11)