A fun-filled, zany story with a serious message about belonging.
When three woodland friends—Ted, a bighearted bear; Blake, an “undomesticated” and kind but dim-bulb dog; and Vachel, a sarcastic vulture who never goes out of his way to offer a kind word—get sidetracked from their picnic and sucked into a journey to return Paisley the penguin to her Antarctic home, it turns into an adventure that will keep readers guessing. Complicating matters, the park ranger has died, leaving his young, brown-skinned daughter, Dee, all alone—until she finds and latches onto Ted and his companions. The debate rages throughout their journey: should they keep the mute and adorable human or return her to the orphanage, where little humans without families belong? Or do they? If Paisley has a family among the penguins even though her parents have died, Dee, too, can make a family from this motley group of animals. Those who love travel, adventure, learning about animals in remote parts of the world, and comics will enjoy this laugh-out-loud graphic novel. Baldwin’s full-color illustrations appeal to all of the senses and keep the story moving—through travel by plane, raft, boat, and on foot, ahead of a pair of hungry polar bears all the way.
A must-read for all would-be adventurers. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)