cover image Mr. Flux

Mr. Flux

Kyo Maclear, illus. by Matte Stephens. Kids Can, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55453-781-5

Mr. Flux, Maclear (Virginia Wolf) explains in a note, is modeled on George Maciunas, who founded the Fluxus art movement in the 1960s. This story’s Mr. Flux brings change to a boy named Martin and to Martin’s stodgy neighborhood, which has a “fixed number of trees, dogs, cats and cars.” The artist stays around just long enough to introduce the idea of playful freedom from routine (“Shall we spin toy rabbits on my record player?”) before introducing a bigger change: he moves away, leaving Martin with new perspective and a special gift. Debut illustrator Stephens’s elegant retro spreads in milky hues create an atmosphere of urbanity throughout. He models Mr. Flux on a self-portrait of Maciunas wearing a bowler hat and a monocle, and even the houses that are supposed to be monotonous are charming. Maclear does state things a bit flat-footedly in case readers don’t get the message (“Change is upsetting,” Martin tells Mr. Flux, “and we like things just the way they are”), but it’s still a useful, low-key introduction to the liberating impulses of the ’60s. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)