Gus and Button

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9780439110150: Gus and Button
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When something bright green lands in Gus's monochromatic mushroom land, he and his dog Button travel far and wide--to the land of Cornucopia--to find the source of the green thing. By the creators of How Are You Peeling?

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Review:

Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann first revealed how peppers, pears, and potatoes could magically take on expressive faces and lively personalities in Play with Your Food. Since then, they've put their portraiture skills to good use telling fun kids' stories like this, populated by all manner of anthropomorphic produce.

Gus and his dog, Button, (with black-eyed peas for eyes) live in a drab little mushroom town until one day a storm blows a mysterious bright green object by their window. Gus then becomes inspired to venture out into the world, through the Howling Forest: "Gus knew it was a dangerous place where he must never go. 'But I must find out,' said Gus, 'where things this bright can grow.'" And so begins his adventure, past Howell the Wolf (a sly artichoke), into the arms of new friends Cecil, Pip, and Belle (a good-natured green apple, a toothy orange, and a wide-eyed red pepper, respectively), and on to the bustling city of Cornucopia.

Elffers and Freymann pack each page with scores of different fruits and vegetables, from Swiss chard to star fruit to patty pan squash, and even the backdrops brim with ingenuity. (Are those mushroom capitals on celery pillars? Is that river really made out of red cabbage?) Although you'll almost certainly risk some subsequent food play, Gus and Button are pals worth joining for a trip. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

About the Author:

In the fertile mind of artist/sculptor Saxton Freymann, a cauliflower is a poodle, an artichoke is a wolf, a banana is an octopus, and a pumpkin is just about anything. Fruits and veggies - meticulously carved, then photographed - are his special gift to the bountiful world of children's literature. "What's great about food," he says, "is that it keeps all of the photos fun." Freymann lives in New York City with his wife and three children, all of whom are very healthy, he says, because they eat the cast of characters he works on. For more information about Saxton Freymann, visit: scholastic.com/tradebooks Born in The Netherlands to artist parents, Joost turned his creative energy to food in 1976, when he became fascinated with the garnishes used by Japanese sushi chefs. The result was Play With Your Food, his first collaboration with Saxton Freymann, and a bestseller for the whole family. Joost believes that if you can open children's eyes and thinking with things they can understand and duplicate - like food creations - a new range of creativity opens up. "Then," he says, "you can take them to a museum."

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