THE VOYAGE OF THE LUDGATE HILL: Travels with Robert Louis Stevenson by Nancy Willard
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THE VOYAGE OF THE LUDGATE HILL: Travels with Robert Louis Stevenson

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In a conceptual sequel to Willard and the Provensens' record-breaking A Visit to William Blake's Inn, which was both a Newbery Award and a Caldecott Honor book, a jaunt suggested by Stevenson's 1887 voyage from London to New York on a tramp steamer loaded with animals. In real poetry that not only sings but scans, Willard makes this a tall tale of misadventures on a rough crossing when the various creatures, usually hungry, roam the ship leaving mayhem in their wake. Deliberately reminiscent of Carroll, Lear, and W.S. Gilbert, the text has some delectably funny moments: ""I groped back to, bed but encountered instead/a horse who admired my clothes/but decided my vest was too hard to digest/and my socks too involved With my toes."" Painted in acrylic on hot press illustration board, the Provensens' familiar, crisply defined forms and figures are deployed against clean, subtly hued, horizontally brushed expanses of sea and sky. Their designs are glorious--airy sails contrasted to stolid dockside warehouses, a misty farewell view of St. Paul's from the gaily flag-bedecked ship--and they neatly capture the delicious humor of the importunate animals, from the wide-eyed, innocently mischievous horses to a pair of supercilious apes at cards. This one should delight both adults and children.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1987
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich