David Macaulay connects the seemingly unconnected in this playful, witty collection of overlapping stories. Young readers must listen and watch carefully in order to track one story's clues that later pop up in another story. For example, Albert and his horse June take a shortcut over the railroad tracks on their way to sell melons at the market. Because they get there so early they are able to go home sooner than planned. Three chapters later, Albert and June's efficiency leads to another character's disappointment... and even a run-in with the law. Then there's poor Professor Tweet, who runs afowl of a hot-air balloon ride. But a few chapters later we discover that Professor Tweet's misfortune has lead to another man's most excellent fortune! Macaulay's characters are thoroughly engaging, such as the horse June, who wears curlers in her mane and likes to kick back in front of the TV. Many know Macaulay as the master of pen-and-ink detail, but here he proves himself as a versatile color artist, offering a richly blended palette and unusual visual perspectives. A funny, child-friendly shortcut into the study of cause and effect. (Ages 5 and older) --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
In nine brief "chapters" energetically telegraphing seemingly disparate adventures, Macaulay comments wryly and wittily on happiness, happenstance and storytelling itself. Albert and his horse, June, travel to the weekly market to sell melons-their trip seems unremarkable enough, yet their simple acts, such as tossing a coin over a bridge for luck or untying a rope that blocks the road, set Macaulay's tiny clockwork universe into motion. Only the vibrant, hilariously detailed illustrations connect Albert and June's trip to the vignettes related in subsequent chapters. The rope that Albert removes, for example, unmoors Professor Tweet's hot air balloon; as Tweet drops ballast to avoid crashing into a town, he capsizes Bob's rowboat below; what Bob discovers as he splashes to the bottom of the river brings the tale back full circle to Albert's tossed coin. As in the author/artist's most recent books, he plays with nonlinear storytelling, looping the chapters in and out of sequence and overlapping the tales in unexpected ways. His illustrations, alternately recalling the vertiginous views of Cathedral and the inspired silliness of Baaa, make a perfect marriage of comedy and chaos. All ages.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.