THE MAGIC ARK by Brian Price-Thomas
Kirkus Star


Email this review


From a new author-illustrator, a first picture-book that is an entrancing fantasy. Tall, slim, top-hatted, mysterious Mr. Antrobus (in some ways a spiritual reflection of Wilder's character of the same name) can be found on the other side of the fence at the bottom of ""my nana's garden."" He carves wonderful, faceted animals from wood (about half life-size) and can sometimes be seen floating aloft in his Ark--at least by the small narrator; Granddad and Nana hint at a memory that helps them understand. On a summer's night, the child, Mr. Antrobus, and the animals board the Ark, which carries them to forest, veldt, and mountain to free Mr. Antrobus' creations, and finally to home, where a mellow hillside welcomes two rabbits and two sheep. Like Van Allsburg, Price-Thomas creates tension by suggesting levels of meaning in his carefully cadenced text: when Nana picks the roses growing in the Ark's wake, they stay ""fresh for nearly as long as forever."" The lovely, luminous, softly colored illustrations are serenely still, suffused with timelessness enhanced by adept use of light and unusual points of view. The more intimate black-and-white vignettes on the text pages add an elegant touch, though the two styles are not quite in harmony. A splendid introduction for Price-Thomas.

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 1987
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Crown