In a droll episode that caters to the beliefs of many Manhattanites, a cabbie discovers that the “other side of town” actually is an alternate universe.
The bemused narrator's fare is a strange gent in a pale green body suit topped by a pink pompom. Following his directions takes the cabbie through the “Finkon” (not Lincoln) Tunnel to “Schmeeker” (not Bleecker) Street—where “glom” (not palm) trees grow, baseball fans root for the Spankees or the Smets, and “mush hour” jams the roadways. Fortunately, getting back entails little more than a quick trip over the undulating Snooklyn Bridge to…Times Square!—though signs of leakage between the realities follow when dinner that night turns out to be “tweet loaf, with bravy.” Agee illustrates his sparely told tale with large cartoon scenes rendered in muted colors and dizzying tangles of offbeat urban detail; the "other side" looks an awful lot like Hobbiton as rendered by Dr. Seuss. Though the cabbie's fellow New Yorkers are this book's most obvious audience, with a little prompting, children from just about anywhere can have uproarious fun replicating the wordplay and imagining just what the other sides of their towns might be like.
No fare required for this trip, just a tongue and a cheek in which to put it. (Picture book. 6-8)