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WORLDS APART by Gary Soto Kirkus Star


Traveling with Fernie and Me

by Gary Soto, illustrated by Greg Clarke

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 17th, 2005
ISBN: 0-399-24218-X
Publisher: Putnam

The unnamed boy narrator and his best friend Fernie travel all over the world—in their wildest dreams—in Soto’s winning follow-up to Fearless Fernie (2002). “Itching to Travel” is the first of 40 poems in this thematic collection, setting the scene for two pals who fantasize about life beyond their yards, school and playground. The next poem places the wanderers in foggy San Francisco, then on a luxury liner bound for Hawaii and past the Philippines (where they get fake tattoos), until “Last Stop Outside of Tucson, Arizona.” There the boys are broke but “bringing home a llama / Loaded down with 348 rolls of undeveloped film / And a jar of Amazonian water that could cure hiccups.” Despite the fabulous string of fabrications that comprises the boys’ global tour, plenty of middle-school truths abound, and Soto expertly captures them in the narrator’s fresh, funny voice. Clarke’s comical, cartoonish illustrations contribute to the sense of exuberance and discovery in this disarming tribute to boyhood friendship and sweet, goofy travelogue for the armchair explorer. (Poetry. 8-12)