In this picture book, an elk travels to a planet where all the animals live in harmony.
When a spaceship lands in a snowy forest, Misty the elk meets five travelers: a kangaroo, a tiger, a woodchuck, a deer, and a swan. Researchers from the planet Plumvubba, they wish to see prehistoric cave paintings. They tell Misty that all artistic endeavors, from painting and photography to “quilting and pottery,” are important to them. Misty accompanies them to their planet and discerns how the arts are intertwined in the inhabitants’ harmonious coexistence. She joins in music making, learning that “we…stay in tune with one another.” And she discovers that respect for others’ opinions can lead to “peace in the world.” When Misty returns home, she shares these observations with her friends. Cwyk (Quest Across Eons, 2018) illustrates the story’s earnest messages with her own untutored, appealing colored pencil drawings. But the intended audience is unclear. The text is sometimes too juvenile for older kids (the spaceship goes “Zoogle-thrumble-Zoogle-thrumble”) and too adult for young children (there are references to Wordsworth and Pablo Neruda). Yet the tale is also threaded with unexpectedly moving moments: A newspaper with an alarming headline “swirled up onto the wind suddenly, and twirled away, far into the sky.”
Purposeful, occasionally touching messages in an uneven mix of simplistic and sophisticated content.