This has a regional and odd fact interest, but there is something definitely unsettling about reading a fictionalized juvenile biography about an obscure American artist in which no example of his work appears. The book makes it clear that Banvard's masterpiece (sort of) has long since disappeared. This was a three mile long painting of the Mississippi River which Banvard showed all over this country and abroad to such gratified crowned heads as Queen Victoria. He showed it on smoothly unwinding drums which gave the impression of a slow glide down river and thus, there is some justification to the claim that this was the forerunner of moving pictures -- some, but not much. In addition to being a good draftsman and colorist, it appears that Banvard had a disarming patter to go along with his continuous painting and he and his family lived very well on the proceeds. This is an unusual glimpse of 19th Americana and, despite our consistently curmudgeonly attitude toward demi-non-fiction, the dialogue isn't bad.