Topsy-Turvy Town

Luc Melanson, Author . Tundra $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-88776-920-7

Some children have imaginary friends; Melanson's (My Great Big Mamma ) hero takes readers through an imaginary town where it rains broccoli (which “bounces off umbrellas and makes an awful crunch”), juggling wildcats is an accepted bedtime ritual (“ 'Don't drop him!' cry the others. I never do”), and dogs play the tuba instead of barking when they want to go to the park. There are a number of striking pictures in these pages—in one spread, a building with toy soldier–like legs and two clown faces marches along while the boy walks with his aunt, and a scene in which the narrator bathes with an enthusiastic and elaborately appendaged robot is particularly wonderful. But readers may feel kept at arms' length by the highly stylized, almost mechanized aesthetic; the book is like an esoteric toy that's too intimidating to play with. Melanson may also be ill-served by his unnamed translator (the original French version was published in 2004). There's not a lot of text, but what's here has little sense of a child's imaginative mischievousness or pride of authorship. Ages 2–5. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/22/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Genre: Children's
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