A boy’s amusement-park birthday becomes a die-cut celebration for all.
As the D train pulls into Coney Island, anticipation builds. On this gorgeous day, the park beckons with food, rides and games. Mother treats son to ice cream, adventures, a beach picnic and more, while Viva treats readers to stunning spreads recalling the joys and trials (spilled ice cream!) of childhood. Graphically compelling, the linocut style and limited palette recall Matisse, but this is also an exploration of die-cut storytelling. Cutouts highlight and reveal words, shapes and patterns. Great attention is given to ensure that these track. The word “cream” appears in a die-cut window under the word “ice”; that “cream” becomes “scream” when the page is turned and the treat dropped. However, whether they highlight the heart of the story is debatable, and the often forced rhyming text falls short of the work’s visual achievement. As the night train approaches and rain sprinkles down, the boy receives a new cone, offering contentment and closure to a memorable day.
A visually splendid birthday jaunt is a bit dampened by its text. (Picture book. 3-7)