PAPER JOHN by David Small


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The imaginative creator of Imogene's Antlers and Eulalie and the Hopping Head presents a benevolent character who can make anything he needs from paper, in a parable concerning the triumph of the creative imagination over the mean-spirited. John, who resembles Leslie Brooke's Simple Simon, comes to a seaside, cobble. stoned. Victorian town where he sells paper flowers and builds a lacquered paper house adorned with pinwheels and other fanciful paper constructions. He folds boats for the children, and is so good-natured that people say he could even get along with the devil. But when John catches a little gray devil instead of a fish, the ungrateful devil demands food and lodging, and then picks pockets in the market square before escaping via John's golden sunburst kite. After John sends a paper falcon to puncture the kite, the devil invokes the four winds to destroy the town, but John rescues everyone by quickly refolding his house into a ship, and the winds blow the devil back wherever he came from. Small's illustrations--full of entrancing detail including not only his cut and folded confections but a multitude of animals and the bulbously stupid-looking winds--are as good as he's done. A good choice for sharing aloud or for children to read on their own.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1987
ISBN: 0374457255
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux