cover image Great Adv Chris Colum

Great Adv Chris Colum

Jean Fritz. Grosset & Dunlap, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22113-2

This collaboration by an accomplished historian and a popular illustrator is handsome though flawed, and the pop-up format seems ill-chosen. Though Fritz's tone is light and informative, inherent space limitations allow her merely to scratch the surface of the subject. (Only six double-sided flaps of text are presented, in an awkward design that prevents easy closing of the book.) The author successfully avoids the traditional uncritical litany of ``discoveries'' while hinting at evolving interpretations of Columbus, his accomplishments, his relationships with his royal patrons and his interactions with ``Indians.'' In sum, however, the narrative here is too long and sophisticated for the intended audience. DePaola, too, is unfortunately constrained by format--the imposition of gratuitous pop-up engineering diminishes his customarily finely crafted illustrations and detracts from--rather than adds to--readers' enjoyment. Ages 5-9. (Jan.)