Leon the Raccoon wishes he could follow the snow geese north to the Arctic, prompting the first of many convenient plot turns in this translated picture book, originally published in French.
Mama Fox, mother of Leon’s friend Gaspard, is a pilot who happens to be heading to the Arctic to deliver supplies to a school. The opportune ride suddenly goes south when the plane must make an emergency landing. Rather than being frightened, however, the young protagonists are almost gleeful to be stranded in the Arctic. One by one, multiple Arctic animals (including a polar bear who is described as a “friendly giant”) handily assist the travelers through a series of unrealistically altruistic acts. When the crew builds an igloo in which to spend the night, they do so quickly and joyfully, giggling and exclaiming that constructing this most stereotypical of Arctic images is just like “building with giant blocks!” Several Arctic-specific vocabulary terms make an appearance, such as “tundra” and “Aurora Borealis,” but no explanations are presented to define or contextualize them. While the text lacks ingenuity, however, the illustrations soar. Cartoonlike images in saturated colors create stark contrasts between the animals and the blustery landscape in which they find themselves.
Explore elsewhere for a more satisfying read. (Picture book. 4-7)