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MEGALOPOLIS by Cléa Dieudonné


and the Visitor from Outer Space

by Cléa Dieudonné ; illustrated by Cléa Dieudonné

Pub Date: May 10th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-500-65069-1
Publisher: Thames & Hudson

An extraplanetary visitor’s city visit literally unfolds in this unusually formatted panorama.

Presented on a 12-foot-long vertical strip that has been rolled up and pressed flat, the itinerary moves down from high towers at the beginning though zigzag streets and winding canals and eventually into deep subterranean reaches. Each successive flip adds both a block of descriptive narrative and new streets and sights for the intergalactic tourist and for kneeling viewers (a hallway or large room will be required to see this in its entirety) to discover simultaneously. Along with lots of amusing details and side activity, there’s also a seek-and-find element, as the green extraterrestrial, recurring in each segment, is just one tiny figure among many. So warm are the welcoming rounds of parades and other festivities from the city’s residents—all of whom are notably diverse in skin color and dress—that the ET asks to stay on. Drama and romance ensue as the new immigrant is temporarily “overpowered by a praline” but then meets and marries a mermaid. So off the two honeymooners course, past a smiling monster at the city’s lowest point and beyond the bottom corner. Dieudonné’s scenes are festooned with tiny, active figures (including interracial and possibly same-sex couples as well as some instances of ethnic stereotypes). Still, they don’t look overcrowded, and despite flattened, sometimes skewed perspectives, the seamless transitions add to her composition’s overall visual unity.

A bit awkward to follow considering its length and orientation but truly a grand tour

. (Novelty. 6-9)