Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rhyme among Reasons to Read It Again

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rhyme among Reasons to Read It Again

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport, Times-Union staff writer

********** CORRECTION June 18, 2002

Author Margaret Weis will sign copies of Dragons of a Vanished Moon: War of Souls Vol. III (Wizards of the Coast, $27.95) at noon Friday at Books-a-Million in the Orange Park Mall. Because of incorrect information from the publisher, the time was wrong in a report on Page C-7 yesterday.

***************

"Again, Daddy. Read it again."

That's what my editor's children, Jill, 6, and Ben, 3, said after he finished the at-home reading test of Hide Clyde!

I suspected its funny story and eye-popping pictures would delight young readers, but now you don't have to take my word for it.

-- Title: Hide Clyde! -- Author and illustrator: Russell Benfanti -- Publisher: ipicturebooks (Little, Brown and Co.) -- Price: $17.95 -- Ages: 5 to 7

Deep in the jungle, dangerous and wide, Clyde and his brothers were taught how to hide. Many creatures like chameleons to munch. And if they see them -- ahhh! That's lunch. Did he hide under a rock? Up in a tree? Chameleons change their colors. Watch and you'll see.

After the first two paragraphs of this rhyming story, readers already have a simple zoology lesson. Then the plot twist kicks in. Poor Clyde can change colors, but he can't change to the right color at the right time. Amid the leaves of a lush green bush, he perches, his skin stop-sign red. Obviously, not sufficient camouflage. On shiny blue stones, he contrasts nicely in a hue of sunshine yellow. Orange flower, purple Clyde. Readers get the vivid picture.

Despite his tonal-change challenge, Clyde finally masters his natural skill when an errant bee lands him in a strange house a day's flight from Clyde's home. (Zoology Lesson 2: Chameleons have long, sticky tongues for catching insects.) In this tale, Clyde catches the bee -- and a ride.

While in the house, Clyde performs amazing multiple-color change feats to prevent discovery: a pink-and-white polka dot sock in the laundry room is a good duck-and-cover-hiding place. So is the purple-patterned wallpaper he clings to in the hall. …

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