Rogers' Boy (from The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard, 2004, and A Midsummer Knight, 2007) returns for another wordless metafictive adventure, this one centering on Dutch painting.
The action starts in modern-day Trafalgar Square, where the Boy dumps three other boys' soccer ball into a fountain and then flees to the National Gallery. After some aimless wandering, he's only a little astonished to find the scruffy little dog from van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait jumping out of the frame to play. The dog leads the Boy into Vermeer's Young Woman Seated at a Virginal and then into the titular Little Street of 17th-century Delft, Holland. Since young readers are probably even less likely to groove on Vermeer than on Shakespeare, who figured in the earlier titles, the romp must depend upon plenty of slapstick to keep them engaged—and it delivers. Small, comic-book–style panels convey the action, punctuated by breathtaking longshots of galleries and the streets and canals of Delft. Boy and dog career along, tripping up pedestrians and smashing blue-and-white crockery before running afoul of a sinister butcher (who resembles a certain Bard). There's nothing stuffy about this, despite its high-toned beginning: Rogers simply uses his own love of the art as a springboard for his endearing brand of foolery.
All's well that ends well, as this frolic does, with a sublime comeuppance for all the bullies, then and now. (Picture book. 4-8)