cover image Hugo & Miles in I've Painted Everything

Hugo & Miles in I've Painted Everything

Scott Magoon, . . Houghton, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-618-64638-8

Hugo, a blue pachyderm who loves to paint, is “in an elephunk.” He surrounds himself with portraits of his animal friends, images of local buildings and still lifes of his favorite foods. But the paint is not yet dry on his latest masterwork (a picture of a wall socket) when he laments, “I've run out of ideas!” Hugo's friend Miles, a scruffy brown dog, proposes a getaway to Paris; there, Miles plans to test his new invention, a silver antenna-like contraption. Soon the friends are enjoying Montmartre and a dejeuner sur l'herbe (posed as in the famed Manet painting—though without the nude companion). At museums, Hugo contemplates an enormous painting of St. George and the dragon (his paintings could be “Hugo-mongous” too, says Miles) and checks out Van Gogh (he could become “Van Hugo,” Miles suggests). Inspired by the Impressionists, Hugo considers painting “with light” (“Hu-glow,” quips Miles), and takes in the view from the Eiffel Tower. “Wow!... Tons to draw!” Hugo exclaims. He decides to paint his hometown from rooftops, from cellars and in experimental palettes. In playful cartoons of pencil and digital color, Magoon (Ugly Fish) provides tourist views of Paris that feature recurring characters like a raccoon art thief and a perky red bird. Disappointingly, Miles never explains his invention, which is pure plot device—it is attached to the Eiffel Tower and forgotten. Instead, Magoon focuses on how Hugo gets his groove back, and budding artists will be encouraged to try fresh perspectives. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)