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Gus and Button Hardcover – October, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann first revealed how peppers, pears, and potatoes could magically take on expressive faces and lively personalities in Play with Your Food. Since then, they've put their portraiture skills to good use telling fun kids' stories like this, populated by all manner of anthropomorphic produce.

Gus and his dog, Button, (with black-eyed peas for eyes) live in a drab little mushroom town until one day a storm blows a mysterious bright green object by their window. Gus then becomes inspired to venture out into the world, through the Howling Forest: "Gus knew it was a dangerous place where he must never go. 'But I must find out,' said Gus, 'where things this bright can grow.'" And so begins his adventure, past Howell the Wolf (a sly artichoke), into the arms of new friends Cecil, Pip, and Belle (a good-natured green apple, a toothy orange, and a wide-eyed red pepper, respectively), and on to the bustling city of Cornucopia.

Elffers and Freymann pack each page with scores of different fruits and vegetables, from Swiss chard to star fruit to patty pan squash, and even the backdrops brim with ingenuity. (Are those mushroom capitals on celery pillars? Is that river really made out of red cabbage?) Although you'll almost certainly risk some subsequent food play, Gus and Button are pals worth joining for a trip. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

Freymann and Elffers, who turned pumpkins into talking heads in Dr. Pompo's Nose, try coaxing emotion from a mushroom in this overproduced book. Once again, the collaborators manipulate fruits and vegetables to look like faces, photograph the results and create elaborate vegetarian tableaux. Gus is a fungusy fellow constructed by joining two mushrooms top-to-top, with one stem for a head and a split stem for legs. One day, he and Button (a mushroom-cap pet with a piggy stem-nose) find a bright-green sprout in their portobello village. To find the source of this colorful thing, they brave an all-artichoke forest, where they meet an astonished red pepper with black-eyed peas for eyes: " `You crossed the wolfy woods?' gasped Belle. `That is just incredible./ Either you are very brave, or you must be inedible.' " Many rhyming couplets later, the quest ends in the city of Cornucopia, where onion domes rest atop parsnip foundations and pointy-nosed radishes drive cucumber cars. Freymann and Elffers do more slicing and peeling than in previous books, and Cornucopia's salady skyline is a witty foray into architecture. But the clumsily built Gus and Button don't convey personality through their natural curves and bumps, as the radishes and red pepper do. Despite its fresh ingredients, this volume looks artificial. All ages.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 480L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439110157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439110150
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My son received this book when he was not quite three, and two years later we still love reading this book together. It is charming and original. One of our favorite storybooks... I would highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
Another great collaborative effort between Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. The wonderful pictures, made entirely from vegetables and fruits, show the transition from Gus's home of dull, brown mushrooms to the bright and colorful city of "Cornucopia". During a storm, Gus--a mushroom, sees something green fly through the air. He and his dog, Buttons, head off into the forrest of artichokes to find from where something so beautiful has come. During his adventure, Gus discovers the identity of the green "thing" (a baby pea), and returns him to his mother. Upon his return home, Gus reveals what he learned on his journey, "...to really see what's our there, you need more than open eyes. When I keep my wits about me and I keep an open mind, EVERYWHERE I look I am surprised by what I find!" Everyone will enjoy the story of Gus and Buttons, but the pictures will be the most entertaining. A good book to share, but be cautious when sharing with too many, because everyone will want to sit close to see the details of the fruits and vegetables in the pictures!
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By A Customer on October 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
For sheer creativity and color, "Gus and Button" is a genuine joy to behold. Each page offers a wealth of sub-plots and story possibilities, allowing young minds free rein in blazing their own trails through the forest. As a doting grandpa, I have found the story a marvellous catalyst for interacting with my five little ones. "Gus and Button" is one of those rare books that challenges the mind and fires the imagination, bringing young readers back again and again. Bravo!
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Format: Hardcover
Every Thursday for the past 2 years I have read to a predominately Latino, 2nd grade class and it is fascinating to see what illicits stronger responses than others. This charming book held their attention, illicited many oohs and aahs and was more than just clever imagery. The story leads you down a road that makes it possible for the reader and the listener to learn what it means to be open minded and to truly look at something, because there is always more than meets the eye.
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Format: Hardcover
My son, who's just turned 5, loved this book. So did my 50 year old brother-in-law when he read it to my son. It had us all laughing looking at the pictures made of fruits and vegetables. The characters are charming, Belle the red pepper, Pip the Apple, and Cecil the Orange, as well as Gus and Button, the mushroom child and his dog. Many hours of reading and re-reading the story and going back and finding all the different fruits and vegetables that made up the pictures.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a nice book, but if you've seen "Dog Food," "Food for Thought," or some of the other Joost Elfers books, then this one is a little disappointing in my opinion. There's a lot of the same characters, but it lacks the "wow factor" of some of the other books. Still a great book, but not the best.
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Format: Hardcover
Poor little Gus and his dog, Button, live in a drab, brown mushroom world. One day a great wind comes up, and blows a bright green "something" by their window. Color! Gus is so curious and intrigued, that he and Button decide to venture out into the cold, harsh world, and find out where this beautiful green thing came from. So off they go on the journey of a lifetime, through the dangerous Howling Forest to see who and what lives on the other side..... Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers are playing with their food again, and have filled this inventive story with color, imagery and magic. Their simple, rhyming text is kept to a minimum. The real story is told in their amazing and innovative illustrations. Scores of fruits and vegetables come to life as people, places, and things, and dance creatively through these pages as artichoke trees, friendly apples, oranges and peppers, mushroom people, watermelon boats, red cabbage rivers, and much, much more. Youngsters will be mesmerized as they pore over the artwork, always finding something new and exciting with each reading. Perfect for kids 4 and older, Gus And Button is a vibrant feast for the eyes that shouldn't be missed. If you're new to authors Freymann and Elffer, make sure you go back and read their earlier books, How Are You Peeling and One Lonely Sea Horse for more produce fun.
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Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine bought this book for her niece. I read it and absolutely fell in love with it. The pictures are so descriptive and really quite amazing. The use of food really adds a unique and adorable edge to this book. I have since bought the book for my niece and nephew and plan on reading this book to my own children over and again as soon as I have them. In the mean time, any time I need to smile, I will pull this book out to brighten my day. The message is also very "apeeling" :)
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