Nytra doesn’t stray far from overt Carrollian influences in his graphically presented adventures of two temporarily lost children.
Waking beneath a tree and shrunk to thumb size, Leah and her easily distracted little brother Alan follow the directions of several stone frogs to get back home. Their path isn’t as direct as it might be, though. Along the way they anger a Bee Lady—depicted Red Queen–style with a large head and stubby, neckless body—exchange courtesies with a group of refined teddy bears (or maybe lions?) in elaborate 18th-century dress, ride atop giant rabbits, and take a subway ride in a train filled with stiffly silent sea life clad in Victorian-era garb. In an eerie climax, they race through cobblestone streets lined with buildings that abruptly warp into towering, glowering faces. Looking small and wearing traditional nightclothes in the white-bordered black-and-white panels, the two children make their way through oversized woods and urban scenes depicted in marvelous, finely drawn detail. The storytelling does not match the illustrations in mastery; Nytra ends his odyssey with an abrupt return to a spacious bedroom and then a handsome but anticlimactic pull back to view the children’s country estate at sunrise.
Not much here for plot, but fans of the art of Tenniel and his modern descendants (Maurice Sendak, Charles Vess) will find much to admire in this U.S. debut. (Graphic fantasy. 8-11)