Keith Baker has written and illustrated many well-loved picture books and early chapter books, including several about the charming and lovable Mr. and Mrs. Green. Two of his best-known picture books, Hide and Snake and Who Is the Beast?, are about animals. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
A vibrantly striped snake plays hide-and-seek in an array of imaginative locations. He starts off (``Ready or not--here I go!'') easily concealing himself among mittens and balls of yarn, then around elaborate hats, a pile of lavishly wrapped presents and napping cats. The spare but engaging verse relates this crafty creature's continueing journey: ``I'm frosting the cakes, / ticking with clocks, / melting in ice cream, / and sliding through socks.'' The socks present perhaps the greatest test to the reader, but generally the same thing gives the elusive reptile away throughout: one round eyeball and a smug smile. In the end, he tricks even the most astute snake-finder with his garden hose ploy. Though simple in concept, this book provides a diverting, entertaining challenge that youngsters will relish. Baker's ( The Magic Fan ) elaborate acrylic designs, variety of lush hues and sly wit provide a feast for the eyes while maintaining the cohesive personality of the book from page to page. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
PreS-Gr 1-- Using the same vibrant acrylics and meticulous designs found in Magic Fan (1989) and Who Is the Beast? (1990, both HBJ), Baker creates a visual game of hide and seek featuring a rainbow-striped reptile. The playful snake slithers through colorful assortments of yarn, hats, cats, cakes, clocks, socks, baskets, shoe laces , and ``many places.'' Readers are invited to trace the creature's movements through its mosaic adventure--a challenging task since its multichromatic appearance allows it to blend in with the decorative surroundings. A simple rhyming text announces the reptile's destinations. Each new site is portrayed in a bright, boldly outlined double-page spread. Thematically, this title isn't as ambitious or weighty as the artist's earlier efforts, but it is no less successful or delightful. A great choice for those children wanting a little interactive play with their books. --Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI