Brian's determination to keep a salamander in his room is met with quizzical concern on the part of his mother--"Where will he sleep?. . . Where will he play?" Inquiries are answered with imaginative solutions that will be familiar to all those who have tried to convince a parent to let them have a pet. Johnson's lush, shadowy paintings depict each addition to the cumulative scenario as Brian's cozy bedroom is gradually transformed into a dark green forest that overflows the pages as the fantasy becomes more elaborate. From its rich green endpapers through its handsome typeface, this is a beautifully designed mood piece. The subtle implication that animals require responsible handling is positive, although readers caught up in the fantasy are never brought back to mundane reality. Johnson's salamander is realistically depicted, yet imbued with personality, whether wistfully peering through the bedroom window to see his forest friends or snuggled under leaves sleeping next to Brian. He will have young readers yearning for salamander rooms of their own. --Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.