THE GIANT WHEEL by Andre Usatschow


by Andre Usatschow, illustrated by Alexandra Junge
Age Range: 3 - 6
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Delicate color harmonies and a flavor of magical realism take this beyond standard animal fantasy. Wandering out of their cages one night, sundry zoo critters crawl through a hole in the fence to visit a nearby Ferris wheel. Each boards a gondola, and from the wheel’s top, each sees his or her own original home. The hedgehog sees his village and grandfather; the polar bear sees the North Pole, looking “as if the world was covered in sugar”; the tiger sees his jungle. Together on the wheel, they circle though Prussian-blue night skies. Zookeeper Leopold, anxious about his missing charges, climbs into a gondola too and sees the whole earth as a faraway globe. Junge layers tiny lines over soft, subtle mixes of rich hues, creating a Brian Wildsmith–like aliveness. Besides one worn-out misconception (Africa appearing visually homogeneous and labeled as a single place), this weirdly wonderful tale will bring readers the same gently poignant joy the characters feel as they see—but never define or question—the wheel’s revelations. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7358-2296-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: NorthSouth
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2010


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