cover image A Long Long Song

A Long Long Song

Etienne Delessert. Farrar Straus Giroux, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-34638-6

The landscape of this pictorial expansion on a nursery rhyme (""As I was going along, long, long/ A-singing a comical song, song, song . . .'') is that of pure imagination. Delessert dips his brush in the open-ended, fabulous style of a Hieronymous Bosch or a Surrealist artist to produce a dimension where mythical creatures roam and where the line is blurred between the real and the unreal, the human and the animal-like, the credible and the impossible. Clearly, the most interesting aspect of this is that such a free-floating world is precisely one that children find appealing. The central figure is an E.T.-like creature who extends his hands forward and emits mystical rays, freezing two hunters in their tracks. Such an extraordinary interpretation is radically personal; the astonishing vistas of the illustrations may inspire readers to do a little interpreting on their own. A Michael di Capua Book. Ages 3-up. (May)