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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oh Nuts! Written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Dan Krall. Bloomsbury, Penguin. 2012. $18.00 ages 3 and up

"They outran the cheetah.
Outstared the owl.
Outswam the piranhas..
And, for good measure,
outzapped the poison dart frog.
everyone was too busy
watching the possum
play dead to notice."

There are a lot of days at the zoo when the animals aren't up to much of anything. People continue to flock there to stare at immobile, disinterested denizens of those zoos; the tiger knaws on a bone, the koala eats eucalyptus, the elephant ignores visitors and the sloth sleeps. It's all in day's work for them.

Meanwhile, three chubby-cheeked chipmiunks are vying for attention:

"They whooshed through grass,
darted up trees,
and zipped over branches.

It seems nobody cares about the chipmunks!

Cutesy is as her name suggests....fashionable, full of herself and always wanting to be noticed.
Blinky is thoughtful, nervous and musical.
Bob is Bob...overweight, groovy and laid-back.

They try everything they can think of to catch the attention of zoo patrons. They try makeovers, a rock concert and they even put themselves in real danger. Do the crowds care?  Nothing!

Then, Bob has a BIG idea. Will it work? and do they want it to be as successful as they had hoped?

You will see when you check out this cheekily funny new book by Tammi Sauer. Dan Krall shows a great sense of comedy in his portrayal of  the zoo animals and the people who love to visit them, the chipmunks and their determination to come to the attention of all visitors, and the many amusing scenarios suggested by Tammi Sauer's humorous (and oftentimes, sarcastic) text. The colors are dense and attract attention at every turn of the page. I found myself going back time and again to check expression and placement of the illustrations on the page. I haven't seen other work by this artist; Oh, Nuts! will change that. I am off to his website to see what I've been missing.

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