For the first time with notes in English, a reissue of the Japanese illustrator’s 2004 travelogue and tribute to Hans Christian Andersen.
As in the better-known Anno’s Journey (1978), the pleasure of paging through these wordless, broad-perspective aerial spreads lies both in spotting the author—visible in every scene—and in recognizing amid the hustle and bustle of tiny (white, where faces are visible) figures the many references to familiar folktales…or, in this case, Andersen stories, most of which will be new to (non-Danish) children. Fortunately, along with identifying the towns and cities represented, the author’s notes at the end include titles and capsule summaries of the tales depicted in each scene. Farmhouses, city streets, and waterfronts are drawn as Andersen might have known them, with people getting around on horseback or in carriages. The little mermaid (or her carved effigy) appears repeatedly, but the ugly duckling, an emperor wearing only underwear, servants piling mattresses over a pea, a mechanical nightingale and a natural one are there for sharp-eyed viewers to pick out. Also to be seen, as rural settings, cities, and the Tivoli Gardens come and go, are pirates, a dinosaur skeleton, Hamlet talking to his father’s ghost, and other side business aplenty.
A pleasant ramble and—culturally at least—considerably more rewarding than poring over crowd scenes in search of Waldo. (Picture book. 5-8)