cover image Away from Home

Away from Home

Anita Lobel. Greenwillow Books, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10354-5

This alliterative alphabet book takes the reader on a globe-trotting adventure as Lobel sets the stage--literally--to introduce letters and various world cities as well. On each page, a different boy stars under the spotlight before an audience of eager children. A sentence describes each scene: ``Henry hoped in Hollywood''; ``Paul painted in Paris.'' Lobel continually shows the reactions of those in the front row, creating the excitement of a live theater performance. The choices of names and locations run the gamut from commonplace to unusual (Odense, Yakutsk, Zaandam) and may well encourage a hunt through an atlas. Watercolor and gouache paintings are partially framed by bold black strips meant to represent offstage darkness, while the ``backdrops'' of each set depict such impressive landmarks as London Bridge or Moscow's Cathedral of Saint Basil. The illustrations' combination of accuracy and romanticism delivers the right amount of information. Happily, a final page entitled ``Where They Went'' provides interesting facts about each destination. Fans will appreciate this as a companion to Lobel's Alison's Zinnia but newcomers, too, will fully enjoy the trip. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)