Book of the Week #44

Palazzo Inverso by D. B. Johnson (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010).

This book was part of the Rapid Reviews: 30 Books in 30 Minutes program at the New Hampshire Library Association meeting this week. I had seen this book before -- it is very cool -- and was happy to be reminded of it just as I was looking for the 200th book-of-the-week to write about.

Author D. B. Johnson is a Granite State resident and the illustrator of Bear's Picture by Daniel Pinkwater, a past Ladybug Picture Book Award nominee.
"With the enigmatic work of M.C. Escher as his inspiration, Johnson puts brush to paper to imagine a startling world that changes on every page. A grand Palazzo is under construction, and young Mauk, restricted to sharpening the Master's pencils, has mischievously shifted the building drawings. As a result, carpenters now stand on their heads, painters hang from the ceiling, and fountains spray down instead of up. With everything in disarray, Mauk races through the now-distorted Palazzo with the Master in close pursuit. Viewers can track his adventure through the running text at page bottom, which, with the help of an arrow, directs them, at the final page, to turn the book around. The story then continues with, of course, an appropriate shift in perspective, and readers soon find themselves back at the beginning-or are they at the end? Children will delight in discovering Mauk in a variety of places and poses and will be intrigued with the inverted architectural details that Johnson supplies. With the help of brown-and-white multishaded drawings, the illustrator provides a never-ending loop of clever optical trickery." (School Library Journal review)

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