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PUNCH IN NEW YORK by Alice Provensen


by Alice Provensen & illustrated by Alice Provensen

Age Range: 4 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-82790-8
Publisher: Viking

 Arriving in New York with his traditional puppets, Professore Tucci-Piccini is robbed of the suitcase containing Punch. The disgusted thief tosses Punch from a skyscraper window, setting him free to pursue his knavery throughout the city: he whacks a man who squeezes into his bus-stop seat, then allies himself with muggers and helps them hijack a limousine by causing a diversion (he sprays a ``naughty word''--''Stupid''--on it). Charmed by Punch's driving (over the rooftops), the oblivious owner, ``Mr. Helmstrump,'' hires him as a chauffeur--a post that Punch fills until he happens on the other puppets, performing in Central Park. Provensen's airy, carefully structured illustrations are a loving tribute to the city (whose reputation sometimes seems almost as notorious as the classic bad-guy puppet's); her irrepressible Punch goes through his paces with appropriately wicked glee. It's an inspired pairing, resulting in an unusual, highly entertaining book with many intriguing details to explore. A sensible ``Note on Punch'' explains that he ``doesn't motivate us to do evil deeds [but] provides us with a harmless outlet for our guilty thoughts.'' (Picture book. 4+)