Animal Masquerade by Marianne Dubuc
This picture book takes one long-running gag and turns it into a very funny picture book. As the animals get ready for the masquerade, they have to dress up in costumes. Each animal dresses up as another animal and then that animal chooses yet another animal to dress up as. It forms a neat chain. Much of the humor is in the depictions of the costumes themselves and also in the occasional asides that break the rhythm of the book for even more of a punch-line effect. Fonts are also played with as the hummingbird disguised as an ostrich has its fonts hidden half underground just like its head. In another spot, the butterfly disguised as a bat has its font upside-down. All of the small touches add to the giggles in this picture book.
Dubuc’s art here is wonderfully whimsical and playful. The different animals in disguise are often absurd and completely strange. Just wait until you get to the animals that dress up like a three-headed monster, Red Riding Hood dressed as a chocolate cake, and the hen that is too dim to understand what is happening and doesn’t dress up as anything at all. The book is longer than most picture books in terms of number of pages, but that adds to the running gag theme here.
This picture book will do well read aloud very straight and seriously until the first big joke hits. Then make sure to leave plenty of time for the giggles to pass before moving on. It will work well for Halloween too, without anything scary about it. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.