cover image The Return of Freddy Legrand

The Return of Freddy Legrand

Jon Agee. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-374-36249-2

``Curses!'' cries the famous French aviator Freddy LeGrand, parachuting out of his beloved early-20th-century biplane as it hurtles towards earth. Luckily, he has already made it across the Atlantic, and lands on the farm of a couple who are fascinated by Freddy's wrecked plane--and the concept of flying. Eventually, the grounded pilot bicycles to Paris, where he is proclaimed a hero by those who thought he had vanished in the ocean. Soon Freddy is hard at work building another plane, which he then flies around the world--and eventually into a high peak in the Alps. But luck visits the brave fellow once again, and it seems the world is ready for more than one noted aviator. Agee's ( The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau ) tale offers an affectionate caricature of its hero along with dramatic flair (``The crowd was agog, the city in a frenzy''). Full-page paintings and spot art--rendered primarily in cool shades of blue, brown, gray and yellow--manifest Agee's characteristically bold, sharply defined images. High-flying text and art convey the effervescent spirits of this simpler era--and of the indefatigable Freddy. Chapeaux off! Ages 3-up. (Oct.)