cover image The Boy Who Longed for a Lift

The Boy Who Longed for a Lift

Norma Farber. Laura Geringer Book, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027108-4

Jaunty verse and droll illustrations prove a winning combination in this sprightly picture book, another posthumous offering from Farber (I Swim an Ocean in My Sleep). Tired of walking, a boy queries, ""Who'll offer me a ride?/ Who'll carry me far and wide?"" After exhausting an array of interesting--if less than satisfying--options (a brook, a trout, a gull, a snail, and so on), he finally settles on the answer: his own two feet (""I'll walk! I'll walk! For now I know/ This is the only way to go!""). Farber's rhymes flow easily, and repetitive phrases give the story an edge as a readaloud. Selznick's (The Houdini Box) colorful, cross-hatched illustrations embellish the story: they picture the boy as a runaway, leaving home when his parents pay too much attention to a new baby. Set in an ambiguous time period (the boy wears knickers, his parents appear more up-to-date, while a horseman who gallops through looks like an 18th-century redcoat) and paired with a hand-lettered text, the illustrations have a substantial feel and also display a refreshing wit. A clear sense of motion is at play through the offbeat perspectives, and sharp-eyed readers will find the pastoral scenery slyly dotted with familiar architectural landmarks, from the Pyramids to the Chrysler Building. Ages 3-6. (May)