cover image Punch in New York

Punch in New York

Alice Provensen, Martin Provensen. Viking Children's Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82790-9

In Provensen's talented hands, the unlovable Punch is skillfully resurrected for a generation perhaps unfamiliar with his dastardly deeds. Brought to New York City in the suitcase of Il Professore Tucci-Piccini, Punch is immediately stolen by a thief hoping to snatch a valise full of money. The worthless bag is soon discarded, and Mr. Punch finds himself alone on the streets of the Big Apple. True to form, the conniving marionette outsmarts policemen, muggers and a chauffeur to land himself a job with ``the Richest Man in the World'' before reuniting with Judy, the Baby, the Hangman and the others. The jaunty text brims with mischief and Provensen's distinctively detailed illustrations are rendered in the bright, buoyant colors of puppetry. Her Manhattan is a suitably kinetic metropolis of limos, hot dog stands and countless skyscrapers, many of which bear the au courant designation Helmstrump. Happily, Provensen's Punch is not nearly as nasty as the character she describes in her ``Note on Punch'' at the end; here, he seems no more harmful than a cartoon villain. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)