A mix of comical vignettes and broad vistas illustrates an account of the lives and misadventures of a clan of tiny Twims.
It must have been a challenge to translate: the oversized album, originally published in French in 1998, is narrated by Poochie-Blue—who introduces Sowhatty, Nothin’-Doin’, and many like-named members of a teeming extended family as the book opens. He then takes readers on a tour of his hollow cliffside House Tree, the Forest of Lost Children, the Theater of Hissy Fits (where grievances can be acted out), and the cemetery gardens especially tailored for lovers of music or mountains, for haters, readers, or Twims just “waiting for the Goochnies to return.” In between, he tells of the mushroomlike Goochnies’ mysterious disappearance, of children who fell from the sky (actually from a passing windblown apartment house), of a Sad Giant’s visit, and of weather and seasons in the idyllic seaside valley. Along with a labeled area map and a cutaway of the House Tree, Ponti alternates panels of Twims, who look like anthropomorphic lemmings (uniform in color but a little varied in features and dress), in action with immersive, full-page or larger land- and seascapes that seem to go on forever while offering multitudinous crags, glades and foreground features to investigate.
Like Poochie-Blue, visitors to the valley will be in no hurry to leave. (Picture book. 5-9)