cover image The Yellow Cab

The Yellow Cab

Marcus Pfister. North-South (Ingram, dist.), $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4111-6

Pfister takes readers from the heart of the city to the middle of the rain forest in a story with a hazy environmental message. Jack, an aging and lightly anthropomorphic city taxi, is intrigued by a poster promoting the Brazilian rain forest. Exhilarated at the prospect of a visit to paradise, Jack leaves town via a bridge that suddenly ends, and he plummets downward until “the yellow cab opened his doors like wings,” and he glides into the rain forest. Jack cavorts with monkeys until construction vehicles appear and frighten the animals away. He’s appalled when he sees how these machines (which he views as “sort of distant relatives”) are flattening the forest, and he convinces them to follow him back to the city where there are streets, schools, and playgrounds to be built. The vegetal textures of Pfister’s artwork (similar to his illustrations in Ava’s Poppy) do justice to both the tropical and urban settings, but the “Was it all just a dream?” ending (after reawakening in traffic, Jack runs into the same construction vehicles he found in the rain forest) falls flat. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)