11 November 2009

Rita and Whatsit

A snappy little girl and a dog without a proper name take centerstage in this new-ish series of books from author Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod and illustrator Olivier Tallec.  Currently there are 3 volumes available from Chronicle Books, although it appears there were some previously published editions dating back to 2007 - all of which can be had from Amazon.com.

The 1st book, simply titled Rita and Whatsit is the strongest of the bunch.  It's here we discover how this curious dog first came into Rita's life.  We also learn a ton about Rita's, um, feisty, personality.  Rita's got a bit of an attitude.  Seems she's in a mood as the story begins, but it's nothing malacious or inappropriate for young ears - in fact, her 'tude is rather hilarious.  From the 1st read, this book became an instant hit with my girls (5.5 and 2.5 if your keeping score at home).

Tallec's pencil drawings are stark and very appealing - they captured the attention of my young kids.  The b&w images of Rita and her pup are spiced up only with splashes of orange and may remind some of comic strips in the funny papers.

The other two Rita and Whatsit books, At the Beach and Christmas with Rita and Whatsit, are both pleasant and at times funny, but both failed to generate as much enthusiasm from my girls as the original book did.  When they want to hear some Rita and Whatsit, we usually go back to that 1st one.

*All 3 Rita and Whatsit books were provided to OWTK for review. The opinions expressed above are unbiased and true - no arm twisting took place in the review process.

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