Dodsworth in Paris

Dodsworth and the duck, those popular world travelers, sail straight from last year’s Dodsworth in New York into their second adventure, Dodsworth in Paris, written and illustrated by Tim Egan. Dodsworth and the duck are a classic duo, somewhere between Frog and Toad and Laurel and Hardy. Dodsworth, the responsible one warns: ” ‘You can’t cause any trouble here.’ ‘I wouldn’t dream of it,’ said the duck.” Chaos, of course, ensues. The duck imitates a Parisian mime, rings Notre Dame’s bells, and launches some unusual paper airplanes — with comically catastrophic results. Egan’s art is beautifully funny, in the spirit of Arnold Lobel, James Marshall, and Felicia Bond. His watercolors portray gentle, realistic versions of wildly unrealistic romps — Paris streets filled with animals strolling, juggling, carrying umbrellas. Egan is a master of simple language and deadpan humor. “One painter had a beret on his head. The duck liked the beret. The duck picked up an acorn cap. He put it on his head. It looked like a beret, sort of. ‘Very debonair,’ said Dodsworth.” Dodsworth in Paris will engage pre-readers and readers, with plenty to amuse the adults. (The animal ringing the bells at Notre Dame, for instance, is suitably hunchbacked.)