Fantastical characters have an autumn adventure in this picture book, translated from Spanish and the first book in the Tales from the Hidden Valley series.
Author/illustrator Porta has a whimsical style, both with words and pictures, and this well-designed picture book is filled with energetic and colorful illustrations that are lively in both their execution and subject matter. The storyline, though also vigorous, is a wee bit scattered: Birdlike Ticky is waiting for his friend Yula, who looks like a pink wolf and is always late, to come say goodbye before he flies south. Yula is engrossed in a goodbye painting for Ticky and forgets the time. Meanwhile, Sara, who’s perhaps a fox, beats her drum and wonders where all the flying autumn leaves go; still drumming, she follows them. Yula’s grandmothers (hilarious in both image and words: “Careful of the giant wave!”) warn Yula about a gust of wind as she is emerging with her painting, and the painting is swept away. Yula chases after it. Meanwhile, Ticky gloomily decides to leave without saying goodbye, a mysterious tiny ballerina with the head of an onion saves Yula’s painting, and eventually all the characters end up in a happy jumble in a big leaf pile. This flibbertigibbet storyline may confuse the first time through, but a second reading settles things down.
Original, whimsical illustrations match a buoyant text to create good fun. (Picture book. 3-7)