Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nine brief chapters energetically telegraph seemingly disparate adventures. "The illustrations make a perfect marriage of comedy and chaos," said PW in a starred review. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Albert and his horse, June, take their melons to market. Patty loses her best friend-her pet pig Pearl. Professor Tweet's hot-air balloon trip goes awry. These seemingly disparate events and others merge together in the final climax. On each reading, more and more clues to the final concatenation surface, many revealed only by studying the delightful, gently humorous illustrations. A great reversal of the usual "what do you think will happen next?" story-this time the reader must remember what happened before to answer "how and why did this happen?"
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-The journeys and intersections that Macaulay employed in Why the Chicken Crossed the Road (1987) and interwove so brilliantly in Black and White (1990, both Houghton) resurface here. Ever interested in how things work, he continues to explore the relationship between cause and effect and the nonlinear possibilities of narrative in this picture book with nine chapters and an epilogue. It takes several readings and close attention to visual details to notice how, for example, Albert's tying of his horse and melon cart to a railway switch in Chapter One impacts on Patty and her pig, Pearl, in Chapter Two. Similarly, Albert's casual untying of a rope that blocked a shortcut released ornithologist Tweet's hot-air balloon. In addition to changing the fortunes of lazy boater, Bob, the ascent alters the course of the professor's life and career forever. The text is understated and subtle, with more information and much of the humor revealed through the watercolor caricatures. Macaulay's closeups of key scenes aid in the process of looking, but the ultimate connections are left for readers to make. Memory plays a crucial role. While closure is not high on the postmodern agenda, the epilogue hints at the end of the journey for some of the characters, while for others it begins anew. Use with small groups and one-on-one for another offbeat adventure with a sophisticated storyteller.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Recalling "Black and White" (1990) with its four stories that casually intertwine, this picture book concerns six humans whose paths cross and recross in the eight chapters of brief text and distinctive artwork. Albert and his horse, June, take their wagon of melons to market, sell them, and go home. . . . Patty's pet pig, Pearl, wanders onto an abandoned railroad line. . . . Professor Tweet is studying birds when suddenly his hot air balloon breaks free and heads toward a nearby cathedral spire. . . . Seemingly inconsequential details in one story become the moving forces in another as the loosely drawn and entirely likable characters move toward their personal happy endings. Full of motion and humorous details, the colorful illustrations expand the story with wit and verve. Children who enjoy visual puzzlers will take pleasure unraveling the strands in this original picture book.