Every attraction here has a fanciful twist, and every illustration is a work of art.
Dad takes the young narrator to a very special fair, far away from home. The Witch’s Train, his very first ride, is driven by a real witch, and it flies through the air! His bumper car leaves the track, taking a scenic route all over the park. The roller coaster, called Helter Skelter, is so tall that there’s snow at the top, as if it were a mountain. The fun-house mirrors turn people into storybook characters, and the horses on the merry-go-round have scuff marks on their hooves. Dad explains that this is because when no one is looking, they run off into the fields to gallop and play. The Ferris wheel resembles a clock, and time stands still for its riders. The narrator’s final wish comes true: A giant constellation of circles in the sky forms a picture of him holding hands with Dad. Quevedo provides complex and imaginative illustrations, like Fernando Botero crossed with Terry Gilliam; they invite readers to pore over them. Unfortunately, Nuño’s flat-footed text, translated from Spanish and artificially flavored with many exclamation points, deflates the buoyancy of the surreal images.
A trip to the fair, particularly one as spectacular as this, should be more fun. (Picture book. 5-8)