cover image Clementine Loves Red

Clementine Loves Red

Krystyna Boglar, trans. from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Zosia Krasodomska-Jones, illus. by Bohdan Butenko. Pushkin, $13.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-7826-9118-1

Originally published in Poland in 1970 and newly translated into British English, this madcap tale comes across as fairly slight, with a predictable twist at the end. Three bored siblings, facing the end of summer vacation in a village at the edge of a forest, discover a “little girl in floods of tears,” who followed someone named Clementine into the woods and has now lost her. The siblings, eager for an adventure, settle the girl, named Macadamia, into their bed and set off in search of Clementine. Two neighboring brothers, commanded to stay with the girl, also decide to embark on the quest, as do several adults, each led into the search for different reasons. The various forays into the dark and threatening forest are beset by mishaps, made even more frightening by a sudden thunderstorm, but the broadly drawn characters lack dimension; random details provided fail to distinguish them much as individuals. Butenko’s scraggly spot illustrations, rendered in bright vermilion, add welcome drollness to the book as it speeds toward its resolution. Ages 7–9. (June)