LISA'S AIRPLANE TRIP; GASPARD ON VACATION
Anne Gutman, LISA'S AIRPLANE TRIP; GASPARD ON VACATION. , $9.95 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-375-81115-9
These smaller-format picture books record the vacation misadventures of two diminutive stuffed dogs, who wear tasteful scarves and behave with unusual aplomb. They are the only stuffed dogs in sight; the rest of the players are human. Lisa flies from Paris to New York on a large airplane, where her excited wiggling prompts her seatmate to move, and her small stature makes watching the movie a problem. After she upsets the orange juice glass she has been standing on and gets a bath from a flight attendant, she tours the cockpit. "You smell very nice," the pilot tells her. "It was the soap," Lisa explains. In the other book, Gaspard, tired of endless museum tours in Venice, appropriates a little red kayak and evades capture until nightfall, when he is reunited with his parents. Lisa's is the better story—Gutman pays more attention to the problems of being small in a world of large people, and Lisa is conjured with real charm—but Gaspard's is more impressive visually. Hallensleben's rich, intelligent oil paintings render Venice's architectural marvels in shifting shades of turquoise, terra-cotta and gold. Smaller panels convey the fast action of Gaspard's trip through the canals and his collision with a gondola. Hallensleben's work for Lisa is no less engaging; he knows what it's like to be a child with a glassful of orange juice coming straight at you. Both are winsome flights of fancy. Ages 3-6.
Reviewed on: 02/19/2001