A double-gatefold map opens flat to display a pop-up Ferris wheel and other attractions at an annual festival held in the central Indian province of Madhya Pradesh.
A booklet inset at the corner describes the route that excited young visitors Neela and his little sister Peela take, but it can also be traced thanks to labels on the map. First they go to the balloon man, then up on the high, hand-powered wheel. Once down, they proceed past drummers and shops (“HANKIES, coloured HANKIES!” “COCONUT BURFI! TOFFEE! LADDOO!”) to the ice cream man (“CHOC-O-BAR!” he shouts. “PINEAPPLE! PISTA!”). There’s a stop at a photo studio and finally the road home. In the traditional style of his Bhil people, Amaliyar creates an aerial view of carnival grounds crowded with stylized figures depicted in bright primary colors and covered in decorative rows of colored dots. Along with the food, some of the activities on view—a fistfight, bows and arrows pointed in various directions—distinguish this carnival from the typical North American sort (and going unmentioned is the real fair’s marriage market, in which young couples are given an opportunity to elope), but the illustrations and the narrative are both vibrant with the celebratory energy that carnivals everywhere evoke.
Being just a single spread, it’s a quick visit—but big and busy enough to draw and please several viewers at once. (afterword) (Pop-up picture book. 6-9)