ARMADILLO ANTICS

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This ode to an odd yet appealing animal opens with an introduction to its nighttime world: “Now the day has ended… / Shadows of the evening / dance across the sky.” Then, in couplets, the authors address the armadillo directly, suggesting actions: run, leap, dig, eat, and retreat into its burrow before sunrise. The beats don’t always line up in the second lines of the couplets; those reading the book aloud for an audience should practice. In a nod to previous illustrators of Martin’s many popular titles, Beauvois uses a combination of collage on painted paper and digital collage. One page is entirely brushwork (with adjustments made in Photoshop), mostly blues, with a few fish: “look, / or you may fall into the brook.” The next is a close-up of the armadillo “dressed in armor like a knight.” The figures are large and colorful. In spite of the animal’s nocturnal habits, the backgrounds are often white, the better for showing to a group. Some armadillo facts are summarized on a final page, with illustrations in an entirely different style. Those who read to preschoolers will welcome the appearance of this new work by these frequent collaborators, the first of several to be published in the coming years. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

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