Friday, June 30, 2006

What A Pair! by Megan McDonald

What A Pair!
by Megan McDonald
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Ages: 4-8
Topics: pairs, friendship, dress-up

In this charming book, best friends Ant and Honey Bee are invited to Cricket's costume party. Having been Pilgrims the last two years in a row, Ant is determined to come up with exciting costumes this year. Honey Bee is less enthusiastic and suggests he'll go as a bee or an anteater. Ant is not amused, but then has a great idea:
"I know. Let's be a pair."
"I'll be the pear and you be the stem," said Honey Bee.
"Not that kind of pear!" said Ant. "A two-things-that-go-together kind of pair."

Ant starts looking round the house, noticing things in different rooms that go together: peanut butter and jelly, toilet paper and toilet, washer and dryer. They decide to go as a washer and dryer, cut and decorate two very large boxes, and put on their costumes:
"BLUB! BLUB!" said Ant, just like a washer when it washes clothes.
"BUZZZZZZ!" said Honey Bee, just like a dryer when it's done drying.
"We make the best washer and dryer!" said Ant.
"We make the best pair!" said Honey Bee

As they make their way to the party, the friends bump into other partygoers:
"Look! Two dice!" said Beetle.
"No, it's a couple of ice cubes!" said Fly

Despite their clever sound effects, no one can tell what they are. Dismayed, bad turns to worse when it starts to rain and soaks the friends' costumes. But Ant and Bee use their creativity and end up having very cool costumes by the time Cricket opens the party door.

Children will enjoy following the "coming up with ideas" elements of this story and the puns and humor that appear throughout this jolly tale. Ant and Honey Bee are very affable characters and their bantering manner is very amusing. Karas's scratchy illustrations are childish and entertaining - two favorites include Honey Bee's imitation of an anteater and Ant running away scared and the two friends in their costumes side-by-side happily making their washer and dryer sound effects. A real charmer!

Megan McDonald is the author of many children's books including the popular Judy Moody series. She has also written many popular picture books including Beetle McGrady Eats Bugs!.

G. Brian Karas is a very gifted children's book illustrator. He also illustrated Muncha! Muncha!Muncha!