What’s Your Favorite Animal?

Eric Carle and Friends. Holt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9641-5
Answers to this classic kid question arrive courtesy of 14 top illustrators including Lucy Cousins, Jon Klassen, Chris Raschka, and Lane Smith; the contributions range from meticulously rendered artwork to quick, funny sketches, along with commentaries that can be elegiac, nostalgic, silly, and even meta. Carle creates one of his signature collages to evoke Fiffi, a black cat who shared his apartment in Greenwich Village. Mo Willems asserts that his favorite animal is “an Amazonian Neotropical Lower River Tink-Tink” (drawn as a bump inside a big, hungry snake), while Rosemary Wells muses on the five positions favored by the white terrier who shares her bed. Nick Bruel breaks down the fourth wall—and probably a fifth and sixth wall, as well—as he argues with his narcissistic antihero Bad Kitty over his animal choice (“Okay then Kitty. What’s YOUR favorite animal? MEATLOAF?”) and then tries to flatter Carle into giving him an octopus. A varied and engaging omnibus that offers real insight into the lives and personalities of these artists. Royalties benefit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/21/2013
Release date: 01/21/2014
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