The Road Taken: Along a Long Road by Frank Viva
HIT A BUMP?
GET BACK ON TRACK!
REACH THE END? START AGAIN!
Getting there is half the fun!" is the colloquially stated theme of this striking picture book by Frank Viva, his just-published Along a Long Road (Little, Brown, 2011) In a graphic sort of tour de force, Viva's book is a spare but artfully-texted book taken from a thirty five-foot-long mural, executed on creamy paper in only four colors, in artwork which is both retro and avant-garde in execution. A bicyclist follows a supple, curving, yellow road beside the sea, and as the bike moves along, we see children playing, a Ferris wheel turning with a lone figure waving, ships and sailboats on the sea, and a small town flashing by soundlessly.
There is no "story" here, only the journey, a ride which ends where it began and starts all over again, a cheery testimony to the joy of bicycling and a possible metaphorical reference to the cycle of life all rolled into one. As Publishers Weekly puts it, "It's the kind of book that creates a mood rather than telling a story, evoking the freedom of traveling, the joy of movement, and the exhilaration of being outside."