Who could resist hanging out with gargoyles while sipping tea?
“Imagine a train to take you away,” instructs an unnamed yet kind-voiced narrator. That’s easy enough for a woman and her two children, who board a train all excited and wreathed in smiles. Soon, the dark-haired, pale-skinned trio disembark and enter a city full of towering buildings, bustling with both people and animals—some dressed in clothes, others not—who roam the streets. Hurst includes a few more peculiar figures in this establishing spread: a bear-shaped building, an ominous giraffe walking in the distance, whale-shaped silhouettes in the sky. Before long, the three adventurers are off into the city, riding both the wind and a large fish that serves as a bus service. Other excursions—like sun-bathing on lily pads—seem even more out of the ordinary with a pterodactyl nearby. It’s all in the details. Black-and-white ink drawings with an antique, Tenniel-esque feel give the city a muted energy, begging readers to use their colorful imaginations to fill in the rest. The sparse text evokes without overbearing, chugging along at a leisurely pace. Yet some sights stir curiosity better than others, and though the trio returns from the city content, some readers might wonder if that’s all there is.
Like a nice jaunt through the park—lovely and sometimes inspiring, if a bit unexciting at times. (Picture book. 3-7)