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Review of Oops Pounce Quick Run!: An Alphabet Caper

twohy_oops pounce quick runOops Pounce Quick Run!: An Alphabet Caper
by Mike Twohy; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary   Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
32 pp.   2/16   978-0-06-237700-5   $17.99   g

Shelves may groan under the weight of abecedaries, but this one stands out with its use of alphabetic structure to tell a spare, fast-paced story through cartoon illustrations that excel at conveying movement. Cover art immediately shows readers just how inventive Twohy’s approach is as he eschews a typical pairing of cat-and-mouse antagonists: here it’s a dog and mouse. An opening picture from within a mouse hole reveals the occupant sleeping in a recliner. The only text is the word “Asleep”; then a page turn shows an orange “Ball” bouncing toward the startled mouse; on the facing recto the mouse “Catch[es]” it. Whose ball is this? It belongs to (page turn) “Dog,” of course. A chase ensues, one letter at a time, and this is where Twohy’s illustration shines: on page after page, motion lines, blurs, and loose, energetic lines combine to show the dog in hot pursuit of the frantic mouse. In a feat of expert pacing, Twohy halts the chase with a full double-page spread to illustrate “Missing,” prompting the reader to scan the scene right along with the dog in search of its prey. After yet more chasing, the mouse retrieves the ball and returns it to the dog, whose speedy acceptance provokes reconciliation (“Xoxo”). Given how inventive the rest of the book is, it’s rather surprising that the ending acquiesces to picture book convention as dog and mouse drift off to sleep (“Zzzzz”), but it’s a logical conclusion given all that chasing.

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Megan Dowd Lambert About Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert is an instructor at Simmons College’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. For nearly ten years she also worked in the education department of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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