Two intrepid explorers celebrate their love of the great outdoors.
On facing pages, the parallel adventures of a young boy and an anthropomorphized bear cub unfold. Both are outfitted as the adventurers they clearly are, sporting bags of essentials (food, light sources, recording devices) and walking sticks, and they each take turns telling the tale. “I love to explore! / It’s my favorite thing to do! // There are so many neat things to see…. / And so many strange things to find….” Each has heard and dismissed parental warnings: they are explorers, and explorers are always prepared for anything. Anything except perhaps running into each other in the woods. But their fear doesn’t last long, and they revel in sharing their adventures. And when the shadows lengthen, they record the memory—with camera and cherry juice on stone—of the “greatest explorer I ever met” and head home. Atkinson’s digital illustrations aren’t far off from those found in animated movies—full of colors and textures and backgrounds that bring nature to life for readers. Postures and facial expressions speak to the wonder both the bear and the boy, dark-haired and with a medium skin tone, feel in the things they discover.
It will be the very stubborn couch potato who doesn’t set out, walking stick and bag of essentials in hand, to explore after reading this. (Picture book. 3-6)