Fulvio Testa, Author . North-South $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7358-1503-2

This cryptic, ultimately unrewarding visual game generates mystery with questions and wordless spreads. On the first page, an unseen narrator announces, "I'm going on a journey." The accompanying indoor scene presents a mouse hole, segments of toy railroad tracks, a wooden trunk and framed images, all suggestive of an impending trip into unseen regions. In the following spread, one framed picture of an ocean and sailboat enlarges to fill an entire page. "Where have we seen these before?" the narrator asks. Subsequent images show the boat moored on a tropical beach, a man among palm trees ("Should we be afraid?"), a wall-hanging of a winking lion and a binocular view of pointy Swiss-cheese mountains and a train driven by mice. Throughout the enigmatic sequence, Testa (If You Take a Paintbrush) poses questions like "Where is here? Do you know?" Various interpretations are possible: perhaps someone is traveling or looking at photos, perhaps the speaker is a boy or a mouse. But unlike the multi-layered illustrations of David Wiesner or Istvan Banyai, Testa's sparse watercolors do not yield fresh discoveries upon rereading. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/30/2001
Release date: 08/01/2001
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-7358-1504-9
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