This contemporary eco-fable suffers from a lack of internal logic, but the positive message and attractive retro artwork may still find favor with progressive parents.
Joey and Chloe, two round-eyed, round-headed tykes, arrive home one day to find their parents packing. The fog in Foggytown, they say, has gotten too thick, and it’s time to move. Unhappy at the prospect of leaving their beloved home, Chloe and Joey both wish that the house could come with them—and, in a surreal sequence, it does. The house’s friends, including the schoolhouse, library and a row of friendly streetlights come along. The animated house is a particularly appealing character with black arms and legs and bright-red paint that stands out well against the generally grey and blue backgrounds. Siegel’s artwork varies from smoky sepia-toned silhouettes to crisply drawn vignettes to cartoon-style full-color double-page spreads. The text, while lengthy and occasionally didactic, has a pleasing flow and offers several lovely images, including “the warm spot on the kitchen floor where we drink our milks every morning” and the “long vrooming hallway.” What’s less effective is the characterization of the factory’s output as “fog” rather than smog, the family’s decision to move away from the problem not solve it and the arbitrariness of the house’s sudden mobility.
A stronger message and more coherent magic would have made this charming story even more appealing. (Picture book. 4-7)