Three young boys reach the peak of an imaginary adventure in Timmerman’s debut picture book.
As the book opens, Jack and his friends, Ethan and Owen, are scaling Mount Everest. While gathering their gear, they hear that a big storm is on the way and they’ll only have one chance to reach the summit. While crossing a crevasse with a wobbly ladder, Jack stumbles, but a sherpa rescues him in the nick of time. The rest of the climb is a success, and the boys cheer when they reach the summit—but they soon realize that their noise may have caused an avalanche. Luckily, the whole adventure is shown to be a celebration of make-believe: the three boys have actually conquered living-room furniture in homemade climbing gear. Timmerman describes real mountain climbing equipment while giving the characters a healthy sense of adventure and courage. Nehl’s illustrations and Timmerman’s text show the boys to be young but of indeterminate age; only the back cover text notes that Jack’s age is 4 years old. The images are understated, with simple backgrounds and muted colors, and they give the work a chapter-book feel, despite its length. The final page, on which the boys are sad that Jack’s mother may break up their game, is a letdown after the triumphant game of pretend. However, despite their expressions, the boys are clearly not the type to be kept down for long. Children will identify with the characters’ imaginative play and possibly save some of their ideas for later. Lap readers and newly independent readers will find some challenging vocabulary here (“summit,” “Sherpa,” “crevasse”), and the book would have been better served by having a glossary. However, the introduction of mountain-climbing concepts, especially in the safe context of piles of pillows and a sheet tent, may encourage young readers to check out books about real-life Mount Everest expeditions.
A kids’-book celebration of living-room adventures featuring uncomplicated illustrations.