The scion of a family of Face Changers journeys through a surreal landscape in this pleasantly creepy outing from the creator of Scarygirl (2010, not reviewed).
It’s the excited young narrator’s turn to make a Change Token from clay and to carry it up East Mountain, drop it in the slot, and watch as the Mountain’s “inner workings” rise to blow an annual wave of transformational changes over the nearby town. “I wonder what I’ll look like this year? An exotic plant? A ball of string? A crowded metropolis? It’s all a surprise!” This odd but relatively coherent plotline links a series of elaborately weird figures and landscapes colored in garish reds and greens. The narrator, sporting a bulbous wooden top instead of a head, envisions a series of increasingly bizarre personal possibilities, then joins the notably diverse family for a breakfast of “cold pink soup.” The young Face Changer then sets out between houses that resemble half-buried heads, along a path that winds past hedges of human faces and other anthropomorphic landscape features, and reaches at last a spiky subterranean maze. The ensuing transformation leaves the narrator resembling an art nouveau butterfly: “I get the feeling this is going to be a wonderful new year.”
An enticing slide into the strange, particularly for fans of Shaun Tan’s wilder fancies. (Picture book. 7-10)