The Barnes & Noble Review
Actor John Lithgow and illustrator C. F. Payne -- the duo behind The Remarkable Farkle McBride -- are back en force with a rollicking tribute to artwork, starring a Central Park squirrel with an aesthetic eye.
Living in New York City's Central Park carousel, Micawber spends time peeking through the windows of "the place he loved best...a palace on Fifth Avenue," the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One day the art enthusiast spots a painter copying Monet's canvas of a haystack at twilight, and he accompanies her home, hiding in her paint case until she's asleep for the night. Climbing out and helping himself to her supplies, the little artist uses his bushy tail to paint a "splashy and lavish and lush" masterwork, afterward hightailing it home with his new creation. Many return trips to the apartment follow, and soon Micawber has built up a fine collection for himself -- perfectly showcased in his carousel home, with a swanky new name to boot.
With flowing rhymes and a story line that are as sublime as a Van Gogh landscape, Lithgow will have readers absorbed in Micawber's cheery artistic adventure. The little squirrel has focus and gumption, and any young, budding artist will be thrilled to use him as inspiration. Payne's illustrations capture Micawber's creative endeavor perfectly, as well, providing vivid details and extra humor throughout. Complete with a CD of Lithgow reading the text and a final fold-out spread, Micawber is a rollicking and uplifting storytime triumph. Matt Warner
According to PW, "The team behind The Remarkable Farkle McBride returns with another high-spirited tale celebrating the arts," this time starring a squirrel who is a lover of the fine art of painting. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
The team who created The Remarkable Farkle McBride (S & S, 2000) now puts forth a delightful story of an art aficionado who happens to be a squirrel. The rodent visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art regularly, peering in through the skylight at his favorite works. One day, he slips into the paintbox of a student who'd been copying the great masters and becomes a stowaway on her journey home. All summer he explores the wonder of color and process while she sleeps, his tail serving as a brush, until he has enough art to start his own gallery atop Central Park's carousel. The last scene is a foldout of park friends with paper cups and cheese, attending his opening. The rhymed text sparkles with pleasing sounds like "beguiler" and "alizarin crimson," or intriguing terms such as "peregrination," all the while remaining completely accessible. White pages of narrative are splattered with paint. Lithgow's reading on the CD is brimming with texture and playful pomposity. The mixed-media illustrations depict an utterly fetching protagonist displaying a range of moods and poses. Endpapers reveal "self-portraits," with nods to Rembrandt and Rockwell. Kids will never again look at squirrels in quite the same way; indeed, they will wish to meet Micawber.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Now that Madonna's a mama, it's only a matter of time before she publishes her first children's book. Imagine a touch-and-feel, some pop-ups, and a few lift-the-flaps. Whatever the case, the Material Girl might want to take a lesson from Lithgow, a celebrity who's mastered the medium. Like the actor's previous efforts (The Remarkable Farkle McBride, 2000; Marsupial Sue, 2001), his latest offering is poised for the bestseller list. The story is set in Central Park and stars the titular squirrel, an aspiring artist. Lithgow's jaunty rhymes roll off the tongue as Micawber admires the Met's collection: "Through the windows he'd gaze at Van Dyck and / van Gogh, / Appraise every Rembrandt and Titian. / He would scrutinize Rubens, peruse each Rousseau, / Inspect each Lautrec and Cassat and Mir-. / He would find a new favorite each time he would go, / And nobody charged him admission." He also meets his mentor. When the stranger packs up after a day spent reproducing Monet, Micawber stows away in her supply box. Payne's realistic illustrations are bathed in a mysterious light, then flecked with color, as Micawber sneaks out at night to experiment with the woman's paints. Through art, Micawber's world is transformed. So is his tail, which he uses as a paintbrush. A final gatefold reveals Micawber's creations hanging on the walls of his own "museum" with the requisite gala opening. The collaboration is perfectly charming from start to finish and-take note, Madonna-it comes with a CD of Lithgow reading the text.
From the Publisher
"Lithgow's love of language and wordplay shines throughout his work."
"Another high-spirited tale celebrating the arts."