What happens when a fashionable penguin and an irreverent mouse each coincidentally stow away on a hot air balloon headed for the Arctic?
At first it’s no picnic for either of them. Freya, the penguin, named for the goddess Freya, seeks to escape her sad reversal of family fortune by following adventurous advice from her dog-eared copy of Hints to Lady Travelers at Home and Abroad. Zoose, a diminutive mouse named after the venerable god Zeus, grew up cursed by his uncle and childhood priest and banished by his community. He’s determined to become the first of his species to reach the North Pole. This modern-day odd couple soon learns that traveling involves risk and one must rise to the occasion. Ultimately they determine that it is “better to drift together than drift apart.” By the end of their voyage, they each discover their talents while overcoming their fears, further proving that “travel is the true touchstone of character.” Zoose learns to accept death while Freya redefines the meaning of “home.” Butler has a light, humorous, and fluent touch, which particularly shines when her characters share their own stories. This endearing travel-buddy tale is further brightened by Thermes’ charming illustrations.
For fans of animal and adventure stories alike. (Fantasy. 8-12)