SHORTCUT by David Macaulay
Kirkus Star


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 & up
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Nine chapters, a few sentences each, and an epilogue, all part of interweaving stories. In the first chapter, Albert and his horse take watermelons to the market. Their every insignificant action on the way sets off a chain reaction, with enormous consequences: Professor Tweet's hot-air balloon is unmoored; a train is sent down an abandoned track, picking up Patty's pig, Pearl, along the way; etc. All loose ends are happily tied up, and the outcomes will send most children back through the pages searching for key events. Despite its brevity, the book forces readers to keep track of several storylines at the same time, which culminate in an entertaining ride through Macaulayville. Mostly a variation on the theme of the author's Black and White (1990) and Why the Chicken Crossed the Road (1987), and with them, comprising a trilogy of sorts, this one allows readers to trace each storyline from some starting point to some sense of closure, and shows more clearly how seemingly autonomous parallel worlds permeate one another almost by osmosis. But, on the whole, method underlies the madness of causal relations going astray, and no innocuous action goes unpunished or unscrutinized. Fiercely provocative, but mostly funny. (Picture book. 6+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-395-52436-9
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1995


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