Bush's debut combines a highly proficient illustration style with hallucinatory imagery, making for a riotous picture book. James, a serious blond lad in a red tie, arrives at his Aunt Prudence's Victorian abode. Left alone with tea and macaroons amid stuffy antiques and jacquard carpets, James is confronted by a shaggy grizzly bear, who takes him on a galloping ride through the house. Suddenly, the ``the wicked Mouse King'' crawls out from a grandfather clock and attacks: ``The bear fought valiantly but was torn to pieces.'' James escapes but a horrific army chases him; besides a legion of monkeys, giant crickets and a red octopus, his foes include works of art (classical, primitive and cubist) that have come to life, and such nightmarish creatures as chicken-headed dogs. Luckily, Aunt Prudence sternly steps in, chastens the troublemakers and sews the bear (actually a rug) back together. Bush creates lush, arresting spreads in which apparitions spill from closets and other shadowy realms, all the while making it apparent that James's adventures are the imaginative results of boredom. A witty and whimsical exorcism of the darker gifts of the psyche. Ages 3-7. BOMC selection. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993 Release date: 08/01/1993 Genre: Children's
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