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Cox And Box

by Francis Cowley Burnand And Arthur Sullivan

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From Publishers Weekly
Box is a printer who works nights; Cox is a hatter who works days. Unlikely, then, that their paths should cross, which is precisely what Mrs. Bouncer counts on when she rents them the same room. She willingly bears the extra work, removing all traces of Box after he leaves each evening and of Cox once his workday begins, but the situation spins out of control as this droll comedy proceeds toward its inevitable conclusion. The story of Box and Cox has its roots in vaudeville; the book's collaborators borrow freely from that noble tradition in creating this stylized, antic reworking. Chetwin's ( Gom on Windy Mountain ) text is straightfaced, even sober, while Small's ( Imogene's Antlers ; Paper John ) art features large stills, juxtaposed effectively as well as smaller frames within which the more slapstick action--the ceaseless comings and goings, the frenetic cleaning up--occurs. It is a merry performance, deserving a hearty round of applause. Ages 3-8.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-- Based on a popular English vaudeville routine of Victorian times, the story concerns the landlady Mrs. Bouncer, who rents the same room to two unsuspecting gentlemen boarders, one who sleeps there at night and one who sleeps there during the day. She works like the dickens to rearrange the room twice daily to prevent Box and Cox from finding out about each other. But after she promises to marry each man, the secret is out. The boarders are off in a huff, and after a soothing cup of tea, Mrs. Bouncer prepares for her next tenant(s). The airy cartoon realism of the pictures--some full-page and some in comic-strip style panels--contrasts a straightfaced setting full of Victoriana with lots of visual gags and exaggerated posturings and muggings, toned down by calm, creamy colors. Two problems occur in transposing the skit from stage to page. First, the protracted joke works best with broad gestures fully played out, and the actions are limited by the fixed nature inherent to illustration, no matter how light or engaging. Second, while the narrative's present tense lends an air of immediacy, the text takes on an explanatory tone that slows things down. Nevertheless, children can enjoy the suspense of the housekeeper's hair's-breadth timing and the understated comedy in the detailed pictures. --Karen Litton, London Public Libraries, Ontario, Canada
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Card catalog description
The adventures of Box, a printer, and Cox, a hatter, who are always in the same place but never at the same time.



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