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WILLY'S PICTURES by Anthony Browne Kirkus Star


by Anthony Browne & illustrated by Anthony Browne

Age Range: 6 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7636-0962-5
Publisher: Candlewick

Bringing back his favorite chimp once again, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal winner expands on a conceit from Willy the Dreamer (1998), presenting gorillafied pastiches of famous paintings torn from Willy’s sketchbook. It’s an idea that could turn tedious or cutesy in the hands of a less versatile, not-so-puckish artist, but Browne has just the talent to pull it off. So, for instance, Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s Adam look fetching despite all the monkey hair; Millet’s Gleaners are bending down with brushes in hand to finish their own painting; and the Arnolfini Wedding features Buster Nose and Milly, characters from past books, as bride and groom. Willy is justifiably acting out Munch’s Scream in the foreground. Short captions turn each scene into a story; Winslow Homer’s The Herring Net, for instance, becomes “The Fruitful Fishing Trip,” as hairy fishermen haul a net full of bananas from the deep. Browne concludes with a foldout look at the originals, paired with his reactions to them. His confirmed fans won’t be the only ones delighted with this album, part affectionate tribute to great art, part grin-inducing invitation to play with visual ideas. (Picture book. 6+)