cover image Having a Wonderful Time

Having a Wonderful Time

Tom Pohrt, Tracey Campbell Pearson. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-32898-6

His passport stamped with whimsy, Pohrt (Coyote Goes Walking) escorts readers on an eventful holiday with Eva and her talking manx cat, Sam. Eager to escape the dreary winter, the travelers head for distant lands on the zeppelin La Grande Banane, and find adventure aplenty. Their hotel room comes complete with insects playing dominoes under the sheets; a pair of lions snaps their photo in the desert; and they barely escape being the specials of the day at the Crocodile Caf (as they flee, they see a menu boasting ""Baked Eva with Cranberries and Orange Cat Cr pes""). Pohrt's presentation of this eccentric parallel universe is confidently deadpan, and his dry, understated humor extends to his delicately drafted pen-and-wash illustrations. When Sam packs for the trip, for example, he puts in teabags, paints and brushes, and a dead mouse; at one point the cat can be seen wearing Eva's ultra-cool black shades. The absurdity heightens by contrast with the almost prim, retro effect of tidily detailed art in vaguely vintage colors. This is one off-beat destination that's definitely worth a visit. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)