School Library JournalGr 1-6 That Prince of Liars, Baron Munchausen, is back in another picture book account of his outrageous exploits. As Mitchell did in two previous excursions into Munchausiana, he has taken several elements from the original 18th-Century German/English tales, added connecting prevarications of his own, and skillfully woven a single bravura narrativea truly marvelous pack of lies. This time out, the Baron's heroic efforts in helping a choir of 1,000 Africans return to Timbuktu involve him in encounters with wild wolves and polar bears, a shipwreck, a fine steed of a seahorse, and a ``stone rainbow'' of a bridge reaching from Africa to England. Munchausen, of course, triumphs over every obstacle in best tall tale fashion. Mitchell has cleaned up the original stories without sanitizing them; plenty of action remains, and nothing feels sapped or bowdlerized. The straightforward short sentence style this Baron uses to tell his history makes a humorous contrast to the romantic hyperbole of its contents. His matter-of-fact account of the most far fetched feats and his braggart's asides are great fun, but it is the ink drawings that should send readers into Munchausen mania. Their cross-hatch technique frequently gives them an engraving-like period piece quality, nicely harking back to the stories' origins, but their delicate and vivid watercolors and clever compositon make them immediate and hilariously alive. Of the several Munchausen collections extant, Mitchell and Benson's titles are the most attractive and accessible to kids; this will be a title of choice for check-out and for reading aloud. Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, Wash.
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