Nonsense lies at the heart of many nursery rhymes and this fanciful bending of reality is also basic to surrealism. In Nonsense, Eric Carle turns things upside down and pays tribute to surrealist artist René Magritte all at once!
STARRED REVIEW Challenging readers to believe six impossible things before breakfast, Carle creates fun and laughter in this homage to the surrealist artist René Magritte. Forming part of a loose trilogy with The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse (2011) and Friends (2013), Carle’s latest renders fanciful illustrations of absurd creations. A centerfold leopard-tiger sports a front half of spots and back half of stripes. One preposterous spread renders a steam engine with white sheep coming out of its smokestack. Incredibly, a mother kangaroo carries a human baby in its pouch, and a gleeful horse and jockey trade heads to portray two ridiculous characters. Brief rhymes accompany the artwork executed with painted-tissue-paper collage. For instance, an illustration of a giant yellow bird walking with human feet states, “This yellow rubber duck I found / Has feet for walking on the ground, / But don’t you think that this duck ought-er / Get webbed feet to swim in water?” A plethora of synonyms for nonsense and oddities swarm in a word bubble on the last two pages as a little boy pushes a giant magician rabbit offstage. The oversize format is perfect for storytimes and silly times all round. Carle hits it out of the nonsense park! HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Carle is one of those legendary names whose books always engenders interest. His generations of fans will be thrilled to learn of a new offering.
– Lolly Gepson for Booklist, American Library Association, July 1, 2015