Surprises galore lurk beneath small flaps and reverse folds in shops and shopping bags, at a salon, a museum, and the circus.
Readers following a blond, white lad’s stroll through town are in for a surreal experience. Each stop features heavy-handed jokes or inscrutable revelations cued by leading questions: “And what is that under the baker’s hat?” A brioche, it turns out, along with a rolling pin and a hard-to-parse comment that “He’s always prepared!” (For what?) Some transformations involve wordplay. Lift a salon poster labeled “Fetching!” and there’s a dog, labeled “Fetch!” The dark-skinned cave woman with an Afro who holds the “First rock tool” in a glass case is likewise transformed into the “First rock star.” (Really?) But how does the dinosaur tie beneath a museum guard’s coat make him a “kindred spirit” to the thief who has snatched a Ming vase revealed behind the sarcophagus across the gutter? Who are the “Eliott” and “Elisa” who feature in a tattoo on an elephant (“An elephant never forgets eternal love!”) and then “wish you well” at the end? The tidy, very simply drawn shops and other settings, peopled with a mix of pink- and brown-skinned figures, are easy on the eye—but good luck to anyone trying to draw sense out of the scenarios.
Appealing art and, occasionally, wordplay but overall an incoherent jumble. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)