Oregon's Journey

Louis Joos Rascal, Author, Rascal, Author, Louis Joos, Illustrator Troll Communications $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8167-3305-7
In a poignant variation on the classic American road story, Rascal and Joos, both Belgians, spring two performers from the circus and send them cross-country, from Pittsburgh to the Pacific Northwest. Duke, a clown, responds to pleas from the bicycle-riding bear Oregon to ``take me to the big forest''; Duke knows that Oregon belongs with other bears and he has hopes of his own: ``Perhaps there, I, a dwarf, might meet Snow White.'' Their trek involves stowing away on a freight train, hitching a ride on a 10-wheeler and spending a night in an abandoned Chevrolet. In arresting, free-flowing illustrations, Joos, first-place winner of the 1993 Bologna Book Fair prize for graphic design, allows his creations to blend and blur across each page. Half-formed figures fade into the background; ghostly shadows evaporate. A halo of neon hair glows above Duke's head; charcoal scribblings in ashy gray and inky black convey Oregon's state of constant motion. Throughout, the simple, subtle story touches on the difficulties of being different, the importance of friendship and the search for home. Ages 5-9. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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