In the Town All Year 'Round

Rotraut Suzanne Berner, Author . Chronicle $16.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8118-6474-9

In this less frenetic, oversize cousin to the Where's Waldo? books, German author/artist Berner wordlessly portrays the ways people and places change over the course of the four seasons. Each of four sections moves readers toward and then away from a city center; the environments are host to a large cast of genial and mostly recurring characters, all of whom seem to have drawn their wardrobes from the Hanna Andersson catalogue. The wealth of mini-narratives that unfold both within the chapters and across the book may leave some yearning for Martin Handford's mischievousness (although one couple does meet, thanks to a banana peel); others may find that while Berner's pictures are far less populated than those in the Waldo books, it's actually more dizzying to focus on many different characters rather than one guy in an unchanging striped shirt and woolly hat. Gradually, however, the liveliness of the pictures and the kindly intentions Berner has for her crew prove winning, and readers of all ages will find themselves flipping pages back and forth to compare, contrast and savor. Ages 2–5. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Children's
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