Bad Day at Riverbend

Chris Van Allsburg, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-395-67347-8
Van Allsburg cuts loose with this inventive spoof that will keep readers guessing right up to the end. Riverbend is ""the kind of place where one day was just like the rest,"" and it looks it, too-a simple collection of block houses and buildings outlined in black and white. Color soon appears on the scene, however, in the form of scribbles-""great stripes of some kind of shiny, greasy slime""-that puzzle and alarm the residents of Riverbend. Sheriff Ned Hardy aims to put an end to the mystery, and rides out with a posse in search of the answer. Turns out he and his townsfolk are actually trapped in a coloring book, a fact readers discover as the point of view shifts, pulls back and reveals a crayon-wielding hand coloring the pages with glee. Van Allsburg clearly had fun with this one, and readers likely will too. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
Genre: Children's
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