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PreSchool-Grade 3–Marsupial Sue and her friends are presenting their version of The Gingerbread Man. Sue has the role of Auntie May, who cooks a pancake in the oven. As soon as it is done, it jumps out of the pan and rolls away, singing as it goes. It meets a variety of animals until it is finally outsmarted by a fox. Because the story is set as a play, Davis has the challenge of depicting animals dressed as other creatures. Some of them are hard to decipher and could be confusing to children. Also confusing is the fact that as the play begins, the colored-pencil, acrylic, dye, and ink illustrations depict a stage with an audience, but as it progresses, the setting changes to the countryside. The text is printed on top of the bright, full-page cartoon art, an effect that is busy but readable. The book reads like a transcript of a storyteller's performance and follows closely Lithgow's own words on the accompanying CD. His performance is animated and highly entertaining. Almost as delightful are the background comments by the young live audience. Despite the shortcomings of the book, the CD is worth the purchase price. Note, however, that Marsupial Sue is never mentioned by name; she is simply Auntie May, which may disappoint readers expecting her to have a bigger role in the book.–Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
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K-Gr. 2. Leave it to Marsupial Sue to put a funny spin on the familiar story The Runaway Pancake by presenting it as a play for the neighborhood and casting her Aussie animal friends as characters. Davis' lively cartoons embellish the fun. Costumes and clever details are tucked into every scene: assorted cleaning brushes become tails and hair; gardening tools become claws; insects play bit parts. Kids who enjoyed Marsupial Sue's debut (Marsupial Sue, 2001) will giggle and applaud this encore, even though the rhyme doesn't always roll easily off the tongue and the wacky illustrations are so frenzied at times, it's a little hard to sort out the action. John Lithgow hams it up wonderfully on the accompanying CD. Julie Cummins
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