Tag: adventures

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd, illustrated by Abigail Halpin (InfoSoup)

Two children set off to discover the wild, leaving their urban world and heading into a nearby park filled with trees, ferns and birds. There are moments of wonder and some shivers too. Wild smells different from the city too and demands that you breathe it in deeply. Wild can be dangerous, prickly and poisonous, but it can also be filled with softness and soothing. It can be hot and cold. It is filled with secrets to explore and even discoveries to eat and savor. Even in large cities where there doesn’t seem to be room for wild to exist, you can see it if you follow the subtle clues.

Lloyd’s writing is a poem about wilderness and the importance of it in our lives. She doesn’t lecture about it in any way, allowing nature itself to invite readers in more deeply. She allows nature to sing on the page, showing its many sides. She does not shy away from showing that nature can be slightly frightening but balances that nicely with more positive sides of being outside and enjoying the outdoors.

Halpin’s illustrations are done in watercolor and colored pencil. She creates a wild that is filled with huge trees, large leaves, flowers and shadow. It is also full of water, places to swim and berries too. Her art covers the entire page at times, filling it to the brim with nature. Other times, the wild is surrounded by white space on the page, allowing young readers to both feel immersed in green wonder but also able to glimpse it from a distance at times too.

A lovely encouragement to find your own wild in your neighborhood, this picture book should be wildly successful. Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from e-galley received from Penguin Random House and Edelweiss.

 

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke (InfoSoup)

Goblin lives very happily in the quiet of his rat-infested dungeon that he shares with his best friend, Skeleton. He spends the days feeding the rats, eating boots for breakfast, and playing games with the treasure. Then one day, a group of adventurers plundered the dungeon. Goblin hid but Skeleton was taken away along with everything else in the dungeon. So Goblin headed out to rescue his friend. But everywhere that Goblin went, people refused to help him and chased him away. Even once Goblin finds Skeleton, he has to find a way to escape the hordes of people and elves chasing him. Perhaps someone does like a goblin after all?

Hatke, the author of the Zita the Spacegirl series, has created another winning picture book. He uses lovely tropes from Dungeons and Dragons and turns them on their head. Here it is Goblin who is the hero and the adventurers who are the bad guys. I love the idea of these creatures having quiet and happy lives before the adventurers come and ruin it all. It’s a clever twist that makes the book enchanting to read aloud, aided by the brisk pace and clear writing.

As always, Hatke’s illustrations are exceptional. I particularly enjoy the adventurer group with their huge swords, glowing staffs and flowing locks of hair. Against them, the little goblin manages to steal your heart, thanks in large part to his diminutive size and big heart.

A perfect bedtime story for your little goblin. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from digital galley received from First Second and Netgalley.

 

The Not-So-Faraway Adventure by Andrew Larsen

The Not So Faraway Adventure by Andrew Larsen

The Not-So-Faraway Adventure by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher (InfoSoup)

Theo’s grandfather, Poppa, had traveled all over the world. He has a big trunk packed with items from his travels. Now it is Poppa’s birthday and Theo wants to give him the perfect gift. She realizes that it would be wonderful to go on an adventure together. When he speaks of traveling to the ocean once, Theo decides that they will head to the beach and eat at a restaurant. They create a map of their plans together and the next day their board a bus. Soon they reach the beach and the water which they pretend is the ocean. It’s a beach where Poppa came as a little boy. The two spend time on the beach, eat gazpacho and then head home on the bus. Now Theo has items to add to the trunk that are from their adventure together.

A dynamic picture book, this book demonstrates that adventures can be right in our own cities and need not take much time, money or effort. It is also a beautiful look at a granddaughter spending time with her Poppa and a grandfather who has more than enough energy to keep up with her. The urban setting is captured with people of various ethnicity on the page. It’s a bustling and busy place but also welcoming.

Luxbacher’s illustrations are done in PhotoShop and have the feel of collage. Textures and patterns are used throughout, creating a setting that is rich and layered. The city is done with just enough pops of color to keep it dynamic and not so many to make it entirely overwhelming. The page on the beach where they imagine the water is the ocean is captivating with the water entirely swallowing the page and filled with glimpses of their imagination.

A lovely look at a grandchild and grandfather going on their own personal adventure together. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Kids Can Press and Edelweiss.

 

There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith

There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith

There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith (InfoSoup)

A boy sets off on a journey alone and encounters all kinds of creatures along the way. There is a tribe of young goats (kids). There is a colony of penguins, a pod of whales, a flight of butterflies, and much more. He also sees different groups of objects like a formation of rocks, a family of stars, and a growth of plants. Finally his journey ends as he meets up with a tribe of children (kids) who wear outfits of leaves just like he does. He is clearly home again.

This book is filled with collective nouns. There is one after another that manage not only to show children the beauty of the language of collective nouns but also move the story ahead. They form into a cohesive journey for our young hero to embark upon. It is a book that only works this well due to the skill of the author.

Smith is of course also a great illustrator and here his illustrations shine. They show a playful magic that is impressive. They are filled with textures that were created by oils being sprayed with acrylic varnish. The result looks like sponge painting and fills the book with space and light.

A masterful look at collective nouns that is also a great read aloud. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks (InfoSoup)

Kaidu has moved to the City, a city with no name because every time it is invaded it gets a new name. For those who are native to the city, they survive by not getting involved and living their lives despite those who rule them. Kaidu is one of the Dao, the current occupiers of the City. He is training to be a warrior, hoping to get to know the man who is his father. Kaidu loves the City and finds himself exploring its streets alone despite the rules forbidding it. It is in the City that Kaidu meets Rat, a girl who can dash along the rooftops of the city, make amazing leaps across space, and who lives on the streets. The two become friends slowly, first with Rat training Kaidu to run while Kaidu brings her food. Soon the two unlikely friends must decide whose side they are on as war and murder approach them and the City they love.

Hicks is the author of Friends with Boys and Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, both wonderful graphic novels. In this new book, she moves into historical fantasy where she has created a city at the center of warring nations. The world building here is exceptional, the entire city feels vibrant and alive as the characters move through it. Readers get to feel the same wonder as Kaidu as they explore the city and see the amazing Hole in the Sky that leads in. Hicks has a great sense of timing in the book, allowing moments to stretch and grow while others rush past in bursts of adventure and action.

The art is gorgeous as well. The two main characters play against each other visually, both of their races different but not clearly defined. This is a very important piece of the story, a decision that makes the book work on an entirely different level. It’s smart and sophisticated building of a society on a visual level.

The first book in a new series, I look forward to seeing where these dynamic characters take us next. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from First Second.

 

Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole

Spot the Cat by Henry Cole

Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole (InfoSoup)

In this wordless picture book, a cat named Spot heads out of an open window and into adventures in the city. The book is done in black and white illustrations with lots of fine details, perfect settings for a small spotted cat to get lost. It is up to the reader to find Spot on each page, something that can be challenging on some pages, even for adults. Spot visits areas throughout the city from a farmer’s market to a park filled with kites in the air. While he is adventuring though, his owner is looking for him, putting up lost cat posters around the neighborhood and missing him each time.

It is the art here that makes the book so enchanting. The details are so well done that as a reader I kept getting lost in what others on the page were doing. The world the cat and the boy explore on the page makes sense. It is all cohesive, filled with people going about their days in ways that read as natural and real. In other words, it’s a joy to read and explore the pages whether you are able to spot Spot or not.

A great seek-and-find book but also a great wordless picture book with a story too. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon and Schuster.