Strong graphic illustrations give this quick visit to the Antarctic plenty of appeal, though readers may want to strangle one of the visitors.
Loosely based on the author’s actual voyage, the tour features both large waves and still waters, glimpses of a killer whale and penguins of various identified sorts, and a dip in waters warmed by a half-sunken volcano. It's all in the company of a querulous mouse whose initial “Are we there yet?” and eight-times-repeated “Can we go home now?” inevitably turns to “Can we go back there soon?” by the end. The mouse queries a human traveler who responds to his diminutive companion’s importunate comments with uncommon patience. Using a pale palette and varying the sizes of his sequential panels, Viva (Along a Long Road, one of the New York Times 10 Best Illustrated for 2011) shapes his figures simply with minimal detailing. He effectively creates both visual rhythm and a sense of size for landscapes and spaces with looping white masses of shoreline ice that separate flat monochrome skies from, usually, darker waters.
The art gives this southerly outing a distinctive look, and the interplay between the two tourists may strike some readers as comical. (Graphic easy reader. 5-7)