Backseat Buckaroo

Edward Valfre, Author
Edward Valfre, Author Legacy Words $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56566-078-6
Reviewed on: 01/29/1996
Release date: 02/01/1996
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Hold onto your Stetsons, cowpokes, and get ready to ride off into the decidedly quirky world of a first-time children's author/artist's imagination. This offbeat photo-essay celebrates an experience many readers will recognize: the Family Car Trip. Stuck in the backseat, the eponymous, faceless rider views a sprawling landscape that's vaguely Western, occasionally eerie and filled with icons of American kitsch: looming plaster dinosaurs, rabbits and horses, giant teepees and more. A touch of sepia in the photographs softens the crispness usually associated with black-and-white work, while the absence of people and the arresting use of tilted perspectives add to the dreamlike feel. Riding on the coattails of the photographs, the story teeters on the edge of cohesiveness, a stream-of-consciousness narration as seen from the vantage point of a ``backseat buckaroo.'' Unusually sophisticated in its wit, the book may find a warmer reception from adults whose memories it awakens than from young readers. Ages 5-up. (May)
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