NICO VISITS THE MOON
Release date: 10/01/2001
Mexican-born Robledo creates a fable touched with magic realism, accompanied by charming pen-and-ink and watercolor wash illustrations. Little Nico is such a live wire that his parents hang almost everything from balloons to keep it out of his reach. One day, while his mother gives herself a neon manicure and his father watches "the most important basketball game in the whole world," the toddler manages to grab a handful of the balloons and float away. Unable to catch him, his panic-stricken parents watch his progress on the evening news, which shows a contented Nico "giggling and taking bites out of the soft clouds—like they were cotton candy!" He eventually fetches up on the moon, where his mother sends care packages via balloon until he can be rescued three years later by astronauts ("just in time to start kindergarten," notes his father). Robledo's premise and his deadpan delivery provide plenty of amusing fodder for a picture book fantasy. Precisely drawn cartoon vignettes have a surreal quality keenly attuned to the tale's fantastical elements, and Robledo peppers the pages with whimsical detail, from the floating household objects (a teapot, a flashlight, a bottle of ink) to the characters' amusingly improbable hairstyles. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)
FYI:Also available in a Spanish-language edition, Nico visita la luna, -62-8.