Mitsumasa Anno, Author . Philomel $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-399-24238-0

Working in his characteristically meticulous pen-and-ink and watercolor style, Anno (Anno's U.S.A. ) takes readers on another diverting excursion, sharing his sweeping, affectionate view of Spain in a wordless paean to the history, culture, people, landscape and architecture of the country. Past and present collide creatively in the artist's double-page, thought-provoking panoramas. The first spread, for example, shows an individual rowing a small boat from the open water toward land. A flip of the page reveals a seaside village with a galleon from a bygone era anchored offshore (perhaps the rower's vessel?), a nearby fishing boat (does the "2003" painted on the bow place the craft in the present?), youngsters playing soccer by the beach, a small procession of banner- and cross-toting fellows in medieval garb and—observant readers will notice—the rower of the boat purchasing a horse from a villager. Youngsters will eagerly track this horseback rider (dressed in blue from head to foot) and his passages through richly evoked countryside and towns, and will spot both quotidian and special events along the route. Anno works into his sprawling pictures such happenings as a wedding, a funeral, a bustling open-air marketplace, a bullfight, festivals and the running of the bulls. As an endnote points out, not all of Anno's renderings are from real life: Don Quixote can be seen tilting at windmills; a miniature Guernica is displayed outdoors in Guernica. In this skilled artist's innovative, often playful presentation, every spread tells a story—and encourages readers to interpret it for themselves. This is a voyage to savor—and to embark on again and again. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Children's
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