Travel Tales

Christophe Blain, Author, Jacques Duquennoy, Joint Author, Lional Le Neouanic, Joint Author ABRAMS $14.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3895-3
Diversity and experimentation characterize this collection of 10 travel stories, each by a different artist or author/illustrator team and translated from French. The amiable giraffe on the baby-blue cover signals a nursery-school text, but this stuffed-animal-cute character is the exception to an otherwise quirky but appealing showcase. The volume opens with Emmanuelle Houdart's arresting ""I Don't Want to Travel"" (""Except in the hand of a giant... except on a witch's broomstick,"" etc.). Her illustrations blend sideshow-poster-art style with allusions to John Tenniel's pen-and-ink grotesqueries: the porcupine-haired, porcelain-doll heroine sails past sea monsters and bipedal rabbits. Some of the entries are barely ""tales"" at all, like Joelle Jolivet's diverting, spread-long ""Going All Around the World, I Saw...,"" a block-print map that notes such attractions as ""the pyramids of Mexico"" and ""the pyramids of Egypt."" Among the outstanding efforts is Michele Ferri's ""Aziz, the Blue Carpet,"" the sympathetic story of a flying throw-rug (""While Mr. Bouallak had his back turned, the carpet squeezed under the door without a sound""); the illustrations, round vignettes, pile up densely woven layers of glowing golden colors. A pleasingly offbeat excursion. Ages 5-9. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
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