Let’s Go, Hugo!
Angela Dominguez. Dial, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3864-5
Hugo is a diehard Parisian boulevardier—which is a little incongruous, because he’s also a bird: “Hugo was content living on the ground.” But when Hugo meets a soigné bird named Lulu, he realizes that his diversion tactics can’t make up for the fact that he’s actually afraid to fly. Will Lulu say “au revoir”? Dominguez (Ava Tree and the Wishes Three), in her first outing as both author and illustrator, lets this tale about facing one’s fears unfold through wordy, literal insights (“I was afraid of the dark,” a helpful owl tells Hugo, “but then I realized all the wonderful things I was missing”), rather than the bubbliness or bon mots one might expect, given the flying theme and Parisian setting. But the story is buoyed by her gifts as an artist. Dominguez’s characters, constructed from substantial geometric shapes, have a wholly original look, and her scenes of Paris’s grand outdoor spaces exude a feel of en plein air, with thick black outlines, tissue-paper textures, and liberal white space lending a dash of French hauteur. Ages 3–5. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013