Who is leaving mysterious footprints of all shapes and sizes on Nancy Moore's bathmat? After quick trips to the zoo and then the library to consult with the research librarian, Nancy's suspicions are confirmed: the culprits are none other than the wild animals from a painting she bought at a yard sale. After catching the escapees in the act (this time they leave a trail all over her house), Nancy sets some ground rules, and everybody ends up happy. Lehan has reined in the chattiness that undermined This Is Not a Book About Dodos , his first effort, and here produced a picture book that, while decidedly off-beat, is fresh, funny and focused. Lehan's artistic style might best be described as surreal primitive--brash color combinations and a frolicsome sense of design produce spreads that are almost electric in their appeal. Sharp-eyed readers will enjoy unraveling the mystery before Nancy does--after their adventures, the animals return to the wrong spots in the painting. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-- Nancy Moore purchases a painting of wild animals at a yard sale and finds the perfect place for it in her bathroom. The next morning, there are mysterious footprints on her bath mat. The young woman spends the day visiting the zoo and the library, where she learns that the prints belong to a variety of creatures, from aardvarks to elephants. When she gets home, the whole house is covered with footprints. Just as she suspected, the animals have been stepping out of the picture. After laying down some ground rules on behavior, all arrive at a happy compromise. The story is a bit whimsical but Lehan carries it off with verve through his lively design. The artwork is done in flat colors and with childlike drawings. A case could be made that the book even introduces children to elements of the scientific method as Nancy first makes her personal observations, formulates a hypothesis, and then confirms it with research. Not bad for a simple picture book. --Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library
A newly purchased picture of some wild animals innocently hangs on Nancy's bathroom wall until morning, when she is surprised to find animal footprints all over her bath mat. Off she trots to visit the zoo for an education in footprint identification, and upon her return, she finds the entire house covered with paw prints. She rushes upstairs to test her hypothesis and catches just what she expected--a hippo and a cheetah and all her picture animals come to life, and hiding under her bathtub. Feigning irritation, she invites the animals to come out of the picture and visit whenever they want to, but only if they stay in the bathroom and wipe their feet on the bath mat first. Children will respond to Lehan's primitive, colorful art and understated humor. They will also enjoy matching the footprint to the animal and looking carefully at the picture on the wall to see how the animals rearrange themselves there. Lehan's first book was "This Is Not a Book about Dodos".