Sometime around the turn of the 20th century, two white French children, Adèle and Simon, journey throughout historical China with their photographer uncle, Sidney.
Before they set off, Uncle Sidney buys the two travelers gifts, including a camera for Adèle and an abacus, a scroll, knapsack, and other items for Simon. The illustrated list of objects proves helpful later on. As they travel from place to place, Adèle writes postcards to her mama about the many sights they see as well as cataloging the gifts that Simon loses along the way. But, as Adèle’s photographs later reveal, each object was there all along. Much as in the popular search-and-find book Where’s Waldo, readers can search for Simon’s lost objects among the teeming double-page illustrations of 11 diverse locales. These include detailed renderings, done in McClintock’s trademark, vibrant pen-and-ink–and-watercolor style, of a bustling marketplace in Peking, a complex of monasteries in the Wudang Mountains, and the sprawling carved hillsides in southern China. With the children’s route outlined in red, the opening period map of China provides great perspective on how vast and varied this country was and still is. Since this is a historical view of China, many of the Chinese men wear queues, which can lead to further conversations with young readers.
A pleasurable way to explore China, complete with insightful author’s notes for each locale in the backmatter. (Picture book. 4-10)