cover image The Great Kettles: A Tale of Time

The Great Kettles: A Tale of Time

Dean Morrissey. ABRAMS, $17.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-3396-5

In this text-heavy picture book, highly polished artwork holds center stage. Using rich hues and arresting detail, Morrissey (Ship of Fools) fashions both an invented realm oozing old-world charm and fantastic machines constructed from old-fashioned objects. But while the canny combination of nostalgia and whimsy is likely to attract adults, it may hold less appeal for children. The artist's impressive visual creativity and craftsmanship do not translate into a cohesive narrative, either visually or verbally. The story itself is fairly stale, involving a lonely boy (Joey, the protagonist of Ship of Dreams), a vanished professor and a time machine via which the boy gets lost. A multiplicity of marvelous machines and would-be archetypal characters (e.g., Father Time, the Man in the Moon, Mother Nature) appear and reappear in the paintings without quickening the plot; for all the traveling through time, the visual pacing is as sluggish as the story. All ages. (Nov.)