cover image The Hero of Little Street

The Hero of Little Street

Gregory Rogers. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-729-6

In Rogers’s wordless comic The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard (2004), a soccer-loving boy time-travels to Elizabethan London and outmaneuvers a grumpy Shakespeare. Now, the same child gets on the wrong side of three bullies and takes shelter in an art museum. Readers of the previous book know the game is afoot when the boy wanders past framed portraits of the Bear and the Bard. When the brown lapdog from Van Eyck’s Arnolfini portrait hops down to join the boy, a “Dutch Masters” theme emerges. The boy and dog clamber into another painting—Vermeer’s “A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal”—and after the lady plays them a tune, they all step outside into 17th-century Delft. Connoisseurs will recognize the red-brick building façade from Vermeer’s “The Little Street,” which gives Rogers his sly title. The romp continues through the streets of Holland, culminating in doggy misbehavior and a nutty farce. The playful visual allusions are sidelined in favor of the slapstick chase, yet Rogers deftly (and Delftly) combines rapid-fire hilarity with art appreciation. Ages 3–8. (Mar.)