cover image Winnie Flies Again

Winnie Flies Again

Valerie Thomas, Korky Paul. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-916291-94-5

Winnie the witch travels on a broomstick equipped with a bike seat, stirrups and ornate Victorian headlamps in this campy tale from a British team. She loves cruising at high altitudes, ""but, just lately, the sky had become rather crowded."" After close calls with a helicopter and a brick tower, above a landscape of quaint English houses and labyrinthine roadways, Winnie sidelines her broom. Yet even on a bike or a horse, Winnie is accident-prone. She trips over her shoes' pointy toes and bends her sorcerer's tall hat, and her black cat, Wilbur, has a bandaged tail to show for it. Paul conveys Winnie's misadventures through line drawings that seem to grow more detailed with rereadings. His bristly-haired, pie-eyed and beaky-nosed characters nod to Ronald Searle's antic caricatures. His fantasy landscapes--often drawn from a vertiginous bird's-eye view, a subterranean angle or with a cutaway view--include skyscrapers, castles, baroque machinery and a stray dragon or two. The drawings work overtime to compensate for Thomas's lackluster plot, which posits Winnie as the Mr. Magoo of the witch world: a pair of glasses restores the heroine's barnstorming skills. Even if the conclusion can be seen coming from a mile away, the elaborate illustrations are full of surprises. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)