An interesting idea suffers from an unimaginative presentation.
When a pirate girl receives a mysterious note offering a treasure hunt from her grandfather, she leaps at the opportunity. The girl conquers mountains and dark caves before encountering lightning, sharks, and a shipwreck. Paralleling her journey, the book describes the steps one would take to make an origami hat, boat and shirt. At last she arrives on an island and digs up a treasure that consists of a congratulatory note from the grandfather and a real pirate shirt. Instructions at the back of the book show how to create your own origami shirt with steps clearly laid out. Alas, text-heavy pages weigh down what should be a bouncy, imaginative story. The digital style that serves Hilary Leung so well in his surreal Ninja Cowboy Bear series comes across as merely flat and uninteresting when paired with a story written for the sole purpose of helping kids memorize folding steps. No surprise if child readers are disappointed that the shirts they’re making cannot be worn like the one found in the story. Though certain to find an audience where origami books are all the rage, this promising idea suffers from a dull follow-through.
To call this origami tale an “adventure” is a stretch to say the least. (Picture book. 4-8)