Although he looks quite ordinary, Mr. Katapat is "a great adventurer." The library is where he begins, and "books are his passport to adventure." There he can choose to explore a jungle, go back in history, be a sheriff in the Wild West, fight pirates, slay dragons, solve mysteries. He is only sorry that he real life is not very exciting. But one day he stumbles into "a real life adventure," meeting the future Mrs. Katapat, and now they read together. "But that's another story." This simple tale with a happy ending is a real boost for the power of books. Our hero, with skinny neck, bulky body, in a tall, striped, conical hat, requires very few props to create his scenes of adventure. Barroux presents the absolute minimum of visual narrative detail, leaving it up to the readers to elaborate with their own vivid imaginations. 2004, Viking/Penguin Young Readers Group, Ages 3 to 6.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The creator of Where's Mary's Hat? (2003) glorifies a message near and dear to librarians' hearts. Our hero, Mr. Katapat, looks like an ordinary man but he's really a great adventurer. Every day he heads to the library, where the excitement begins-because "books are his passport to adventure!" Each one takes him on a new escapade: exploring the jungle, meeting Mr. Lincoln, warding off pirates, facing a kung fu master, slaying a dragon, and even solving mysteries. But his own life isn't that exciting until he has a real-life adventure while reading a love story. Barroux's quirky illustrations of oddly proportioned figures and stylized images are a perfect foil for the brief text; the cover, with Mr. Katapat reading a book in a space rocket, sets the stage and will lure readers. Sure to be a big hit with children's librarians and other champions of reading. (Picture book. 4-7)