cover image My Valley

My Valley

Claude Ponti, trans. from the French by Alyson Waters. Elsewhere, $24 (42p) ISBN 978-0-914671-62-6

French artist Ponti’s (Chick and Chickie Play All Day!) encyclopedic, large-format guide to the lives of Twims—furry woodland creatures with small ears and long, squirrel-like tails—unfolds through the voice of a young Twims named Poochie-Blue. (Fanciful names abound: among Poochie-Blue’s many siblings are Smarghoula and Olly-Booly.) In Waters’s sensitive translation, family stories (“In my house tree, way on top, there is the Star Room where we were all born”), historical notes (“Piong, a young child, got lost in a forest. He came out three hundred years later, a little bit bigger”), and meditations on the future (“O’Mess-Messian dreams of the book he will become one day when his life as a tree is over”) combine to present a multidimensional picture of the Twims’s world. Ponti’s dreamy paintings of towering trees and distant hills are worth lingering over. The same view of Poochie-Blue’s valley appears repeatedly, painted at different times of the day and in different seasons, offering readers the chance to grow to love it as the Twims do. Fans of immersive fantasy worlds will feel that they have discovered a treasure. Ages 5–9. (Mar.)