cover image Henri’s Walk to Paris

Henri’s Walk to Paris

Leonore Klein, illus. by Saul Bass. Rizzoli/Universe, $19.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7893-2263-0

In graphic designer Bass’s sole picture book, first published in 1962, his stylized collage prints pair with Klein’s understated text to tell the story of a boy who dreams about traveling from his small town of Reboul to visit Paris. In Reboul, Henri lives in a little white house made up of two angular geometrical shapes, surrounded by a lush tapestry-like forest, and has three friends, Andre, Jacques, and Michel (they appear as three pairs of legs, fitted with pink pants, decoratively pattered socks, and green boots). Finally, Henri sets out walking to Paris, but when a bird interferes with his sense of direction, he gets turned around, discovering that “Paris” is an awful lot like Reboul. Bass plays with repetition (there’s a strong symmetry to Henri’s journey), text, and strong blocks of color, while using negative and positive space to toy with perception. Although the title character’s face never appears, readers should gain a strong sense of Henri’s identity from the sturdy storytelling and dramatic graphics. All ages. (Feb.)