A Small Tall Tale from the Far Far North: New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, ALA Notable Children's Book; Eskimoan

Peter Sis, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $15 (1p) ISBN 978-0-679-84345-0
Sis ( Follow the Dream ) draws on boyhood memories for this imaginative yarn about a maybe-real, maybe-fictitious Czech explorer, Jan Welzl. As the tale begins, Welzl breaks free from a drab existence and lights out for the Far North, where he encounters treacherous storms, a mysterious golden mountain on the horizon, northern lights, and kindly Eskimo hunters who teach him their traditions and a host of survival skills. When gold diggers arrive and threaten his newfound friends' peaceful existence, Welzl outwits the intruders. The story itself is slight, a fragment really, but readers are borne rapturously along on Sis's exquisitely intricate artwork. At times recalling Da Vinci's sketches, Sis's handsome pen-and-ink washes are filled with maps, intriguing borders, eclectic details and a pervasive sense of the fantastical that provides just the right balance for the story's nostalgic tone. Vignettes dropped onto antique-like papers suggest the look of an old picture album, while other spreads are joyfully quixotic (Eskimos dine under the canopy of a dinosaur skeleton; Welzl is carried down a tunnel decorated with pseudo-pictographs which illustrate a folktale). Whether or not Welzl existed is irrelevant; he certainly lives on in Sis's imagination, and will continue to thrive in the memories of Sis's readers. Ages 5-10. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 32 pages - 978-0-606-21435-3
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-0-374-46725-8
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-679-94345-7
Hardcover - 40 pages - 978-0-374-37075-6
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-82503-0
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