A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse

Frank Viva. Candlewick/Toon Books, $12.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-9351-7919-1
This charming voyage tale is based on Viva’s (Along a Long Road) real-life Antarctic trip, which explains the otherwise unbelievable image of swimming in warm water at the bottom of the world. The distinctive color palette of slate blue–gray, black, cream, and burnt orange provides an otherworldly but extremely attractive vision. The simple story, full of imagination, is punctuated by Mouse’s lists of things that can’t be done on a boat in choppy waters (including draw!) or what to wear in the cold. Readers’ creativity will be spurred by the recurring list structure, allowing them to envision their own additions. Although drawn in minimal style (evoking Viva’s career as a cover artist, creating single, eye-catching images), with a flat, cut-paper feel to the art, beautiful vistas are conjured, especially of the small boat under an open starry sky. The penguins—four different types—are standouts. Like many children, Mouse spends much of his time wanting to go home, until he leaves, then he wants to go back. Readers will, too, again and again. Ages 4–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2012
Release date: 09/25/2012
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