cover image Tulip Sees America

Tulip Sees America

Cynthia Rylant. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-84744-5

Rylant (Missing May; Cat Heaven) and Desimini (Love Letters) take to the open road in this picture book scrapbook. A young man who has never ventured beyond his Ohio homeland buys a green Beetle and heads west with his dog, Tulip. They see the farms of Iowa (""Green, green rolling hills and black garden soil all around them""), the ""vast and dark and low and ominous"" skies in Nebraska and the wide Nevada desert. And once they reach the Oregon coast, they decide to stay. Rylant's own 1993 move to Oregon with her son and two dogs inspired this celebration of the West's natural treasures. Her vibrant descriptions paired with Desimini's velvety paintings will have readers hankering to travel. With the help of computer technology, Desimini creates dark and dreamy colorscapes, dotted with animals, clouds and trees. While her scenery sparkles, Desimini's depiction of the protagonist is inconsistent. In several scenes he appears childlike-much too young to be driving solo cross-country. Readers may also be misled by the book's title, since the tour includes only six of the 50 states (readers miss out on majestic California, for example). All in all, it's still an ardent tribute to a diverse country--and an exhilarating trip. Ages 4-up. (May)