Martha & Me

88p. Thames & Hudson. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780500651421.
PreS-Gr 2—A child's drawing of a lion comes to life, spurring riotous adventures throughout this engaging picture book with rhyming text. Readers see that Martha is a serious artist with a studio full of drawings and supplies. A ladder allows her to reach high enough to paint the enormous cat who steps "out of the painting as if it's a door." After wreaking joyful havoc in the artists' home, the two embark on a trip to the park and beyond. In one particularly charming illustration, the lion is unhappily crowded into the back of a cab making its way through the city, passing a car with an alligator inside. The expressive drawings convey a variety of moods from the faux fury of the lion at his most exuberant to the calm of his sleeping form on a boat amid a blue ocean of watercolor. Vintage appeal comes across in the limited palette of primary and secondary colors contrasted with black-and-white line drawings. A variety of lines conjure everything from a whiff of smoke to a flailing mane. The lilting rhyming text is read-aloud friendly for preschoolers, while early elementary school children who dream of bringing their fantasy worlds to life with a brush or pencil will also enjoy the story.
VERDICT Fans of Danny and the Dinosaur will appreciate this fanciful friendship tale that is likely to prompt a "read it again" response from young children.

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