cover image TIPPINTOWN: A Guided Tour


Calef Brown, . . Houghton, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-14972-8

An amiable blue man with an elephant's trunk welcomes visitors to Tippintown, where folks dine on delicacies like "carrot tulip pie." This effervescent tour includes a hike up Tippinoggin Mountain, the site of seven giant sculpted heads, and a triple-decker "trip in a triple canoe": "For an hour or three/ on the slippery sea,/ we paddle along with the tide./ If the sun gets too hot/ in any one spot,/ feel free to hop over the side." During the boat ride, the narrator directs attention to an extravagant "Assortment Tree": "See the luscious artichokes/ and multiflavored grapes./ Those are very good/ for making crepes." The diverse people of Tippintown, with their bohemian clothing and unusual skin tones of blue, green and purple, chatter and wave to each other. Although most appear in profile, their eyes are painted on the sides of their faces, Picasso-style, and they glance kindly out at the audience. "Try not to stare at the colorful hair/ if you amble around a while./ Remember to wear a smile!" the guide cheerily advises. Brown (Polka Bats and Octopus Slacks) composes dancing singsong rhymes in the style of Edward Lear. He pictures educated porpoises, tame gargoyles and peaceable people in a snazzy palette of bluish lavender, chartreuse, drab orange and lemon yellow. All in all, Brown invents a psychedelic utopia whose ideal soundtrack might be the absurdist "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Tippintown is well worth a visit. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)