Anno's journey through some lovely northern European countryside and picturesque old towns is on one level an uneventful one: a man in gray rows to shore, buys a horse, and simply rides it through the changing scenes. But there is much to observe en route, and Anne makes of the venture an exercise in spotting the action--and the allusions. Most obvious, besides all sorts of shops and trade signs, are the busy people: performers, bathers, flower vendors, tourists, children everywhere at play, and men and women at their work in fields, streams, and streets. There is a footrace in progress, a duel and a wedding (parts of an ongoing sequence), a prisoner escaping, a street market, a fair, and a parade in which Sesame Street characters mingle with more traditional marchers. And there are countless other such sly injections from the Pied Piper, Red Riding Hood, and other nursery tale characters to figures and bits from paintings by Seurat, Millet, and others. Inspired in part by the traditional semi-narrative scroll paintings of Anne's native Japan, this works well in the picture-book format. But as there is no one story to follow through and no center of interest anywhere--and as the tiny, isolated and numberless details can become as much a strain as a challenge, its appeal at the picture-book level is questionable.