Saturday, June 27, 2020

Metro Yarn: Claude in the City by Alex T. Hill

Claude is a small, plump pooch who affects a red beret and matching sweater, and whose best friend is a shabby, red-and-white striped sock, Sir Bobblysock, who reeks slightly of cheese.

Claude's owners, Mr. and Mrs. Shinyshoes, leave for work early in the morning, leaving Claude pretty much to his own devices.

One morning Claude put on his beret.

"I think I will go to the city." he said.

Sir Bobblysock came, too.

The city is busy and a bit too noisy. But after befriending the pigeons, Claude looks at all the stores. And then he sees the one for him!

Claude buys a bunch of berets in boxes, and the two head for the museum where they are happily admiring the exhibits when something astounding happens!
A naughty thief ran past them, carrying one of the sculptures.

She collides with Claude and his boxes with a CRASH!
Berets exploded!

The sculpture thief is apprehended, thanks to Claude, and he is declared a hero by the Mayor, who invites Claude and Sir Bobblysock to a fancy luncheon.

But Sir Bobblysock falls ill immediately after lunch, and Claude has to race him to the nearest hospital, where Dr. Ivan Achenbaum declares that Bobblysock needs an X-ray. Left to wait, Claude is bored and begins to snoop. Finding a long lab coat in the closet, Claude tries it on, just as a nervous nurse bursts in looking for a doctor to treat a crew of ailing acrobats. Protesting, Claude is dragged into an examination room just in time to diagnose the troop's malaise as a case of the "elevenses," requiring, as Winnie the Pooh would say, tea and "a little smackerel of something." Meanwhile, Sir Bobblesock is diagnosed as being down at the heel, requiring a bit of tricky darning by the head surgeon and earning an "I Was Darn Good in the Hospital" sticker.

In storytelling style that recalls H. A. Rey's Curious George, it's a wicked funny but happy outing in the big city in Alex T. Hill's Claude in the City (Peachtree Books). In Hill's series, Claude is a quirky, picaresque character portrayed in quaint British style by artist Hill in a wry, retro-style of illustration, keeping kids wondering what can possibly happen next. Other books by author-illustrator Hill include Claude in the Country and his latest Claude At the Beach.

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