cover image Aldo


John Burningham. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-517-58701-0

Aldo, a tall, scarf-wearing rabbit, must be kin to the inimitable Harvey of stage and screen fame. He not only comes to the rescue of this book's narrator when she is dispirited, he also makes troublemakers and nightmares disappear and takes her to ``wonderful places.'' The two walk on a tightrope stretched over the rooftops, go ice- skating and take a ride in a rowboat. Finally, she concedes that some days she forgets all about her pal, ``but I know that if things get really bad . . . Aldo will always be there.'' The stark, at times bland renditions of the girl sans Aldo--forlorn against ample white backgrounds--contrast sharply with the pictures depicting their shared adventures. In these Burningham superimposes the light figures against abstract, often dark-toned paintings. The effect is forceful, though it may prove somewhat alarming to younger readers. In Burningham's visionary take on the imaginary friend theme, his visuals are more striking than the minimal text, which lacks the verve of his Hey! Get Off Our Train . Ages 3-7. (Mar.)