A quirky, true story about a modern-day adventurer and his fine, feathered friend.
Frenchman Soudée and his hen, Monique (pictured on the jacket), spent 3 ½ years traveling by yacht. Their journey made him, at age 24, the youngest navigator to negotiate the Northwest Passage alone, and this picture book illustrated with photographs from their voyage will delight readers with its humor and sense of wonder. Some photos taken with a drone camera provide breathtaking aerial views of the yacht in Arctic surroundings. Others will provoke laughter at the unlikely sight of a hen standing in snow while wearing a makeshift sweater Soudée fashioned for her out of gloves or strutting across a vast sheet of ice. Throughout, handsome book design employs creative framing to make each spread delight the eye. The most dramatic moment comes when the ice traps the boat, compelling the pair to overwinter in the Arctic for four months. Monique survives on seeds and dried insects stored on the yacht, and her eggs keep Soudée well-fed until the ice breaks and they continue their journey. An engaging, helpful backmatter map of the journey with additional photos and facts might have better served readers as frontmatter, but this quibble is only true for the first trips through a distinctive book that will likely inspire many rereadings. Soudée presents white.
A bon voyage of a book. (Picture book. 4-8)