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About the Author

David Macaulay is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books have sold millions of copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Macaulay has garnered numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.


K-Gr 3‘The journeys and intersections that Macaulay employed in Why the Chicken Crossed the Road (1987) and interwove so brilliantly in Black and White (1990, both Houghton) resurface here. Ever interested in how things work, he continues to explore the relationship between cause and effect and the nonlinear possibilities of narrative in this picture book with nine chapters and an epilogue. It takes several readings and close attention to visual details to notice how, for example, Albert's tying of his horse and melon cart to a railway switch in Chapter One impacts on Patty and her pig, Pearl, in Chapter Two. Similarly, Albert's casual untying of a rope that blocked a shortcut released ornithologist Tweet's hot-air balloon. In addition to changing the fortunes of lazy boater, Bob, the ascent alters the course of the professor's life and career forever. The text is understated and subtle, with more information and much of the humor revealed through the watercolor caricatures. Macaulay's closeups of key scenes aid in the process of looking, but the ultimate connections are left for readers to make. Memory plays a crucial role. While closure is not high on the postmodern agenda, the epilogue hints at the end of the journey for some of the characters, while for others it begins anew. Use with small groups and one-on-one for another offbeat adventure with a sophisticated storyteller.‘Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA

Despite its brevity, the book forces readers to keep track of several story lines at the same time, which culminate in an entertaining ride through Macaulayville. . . . Fiercely provocative, but mostly -- funny. Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

In nine brief ``chapters'' energetically telegraphing seemingly disparate adventures, Macaulay comments wryly and wittily on happiness, happenstance and storytelling itself. Albert and his horse, June, travel to the weekly market to sell melons-their trip seems unremarkable enough, yet their simple acts, such as tossing a coin over a bridge for luck or untying a rope that blocks the road, set Macaulay's tiny clockwork universe into motion. Only the vibrant, hilariously detailed illustrations connect Albert and June's trip to the vignettes related in subsequent chapters. The rope that Albert removes, for example, unmoors Professor Tweet's hot air balloon; as Tweet drops ballast to avoid crashing into a town, he capsizes Bob's rowboat below; what Bob discovers as he splashes to the bottom of the river brings the tale back full circle to Albert's tossed coin. As in the author/artist's most recent books, he plays with nonlinear storytelling, looping the chapters in and out of sequence and overlapping the tales in unexpected ways. His illustrations, alternately recalling the vertiginous views of Cathedral and the inspired silliness of Baaa, make a perfect marriage of comedy and chaos. All ages. (Sept.)

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