cover image Panda and the Bunyips

Panda and the Bunyips

Michael Foreman. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $10.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8052-4041-2

Panda and his friend the winged Lion leave their African home to see the world, and usually food and drink are plentiful. But they are thirsty and hungry as they fly over a red, barren landscape. Eventually they find a place to sleep, and a Bunyip (a mythical Australian beast) climbs out of the water to greet them. He has his own journey to make, to the ocean, where all the legendary creatures meet every thousand yearssea serpents and silver flying fishes among them. They ""sport'' and gossip for six days, and on the seventh, head home. In the tonal gradations of dusky skies, Foreman's watercolors, on textured paper, are more intrinsically interesting than the banal storyline. He creates wide-open vistas, with startling perspectives, and gives some of the murkier scenes at night an otherworldly quality. Ages 4-8. (March)