The title and cover illustration of an exuberant white child flying a small plane built of books will attract many a book maven.
The theme—books can transport you anywhere—is familiar, but the detailed scenes and saturated colors of the artwork pop with action and make the book appealing in itself. Brief four-line rhymes set the stage for the inventive and imaginative adventures promised in each new book. “On the cover of one book I see / what looks like an exciting mystery. / There is a ship, but where’s the crew? / There’s only one thing for me to do….” If the rhymes are occasionally forced, the illustrations offer plenty of distractions. Here, the child, clad in jeans and an ocher hoodie, stands atop an enormous bluff built of books overlooking the ocean. Sailing toward land is a square-rigged, two-masted ship; readers will note that the sails are open books with pages flapping, and the poop is likewise made of books. This visual playfulness is carried throughout. From pirate ship to outer space the wide-eyed child with tousled hair espies: a cow in a tree, a gum-chewing shark, a dinosaur wearing shoes, and an alien bookcase. “Each book is like a magical net,” the child declares while curled up in an easy chair, “with ideas that can fly.”
This contemporary interpretation of Dickinson’s classic poem “There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away” has plenty of pizzazz to entice kids. (Picture book. 5-8)