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Children's LiteratureA clever muskrat puts off a tiger who is about to eat him with the promise of a story. "Make it quick," he is warned. He begins with a shark about to eat a frog. "Wait!" says the frog, promising a story, and warned to make it quick. A lizard similarly postpones his fate with a hungry snake, but a fly cannot persuade a spider, who eats him. The impatient tiger prepares to do the same with the muskrat, who cries "Wait!" one more time, and puts a surprising happy ending to his tale—happy, that is, only for the muskrat and a passing alligator. Do not miss the back end-papers. Visualized in very sketchy black ink outlines and watercolor washes set on the blank white pages, the illustrations have the effect of an amusing shaggy dog story. The characters are barely recognizable having been abstracted to their fundamental shapes; the muskrat could be any sort of quadruped. The tiger is the visual star, confronted by the muskrat on the jacket cover as he has his bib, knife and fork ready. But it is all in verbal and visual fun. 2005 (orig. 2004), Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, Ages 3 to 7.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz