Into a family’s device-dominated existence, Cordell inserts this tribute to the realms of nature and the imagination.
Lydia, bored with gadgets that fail to activate or stimulate, turns to parents and a brother too immersed in their own digital miasmas to look up. An open door and a fluttering leaf beckon, and Lydia, once outside, encounters a bug, a field of flowers and—leaping from the natural to the fantastic—a horse who greets her by name. In ensuing double-page spreads, the galloping girl is joined by an increasingly exotic horde of animals—from bison to gorilla, T. rex to blue whale. With her cellphone’s “RING RING RING,” it all comes to a screeching halt, as both parents call her home. Now nature’s ambassador, Lydia—always depicted in color against the tonal gray-washes of her home and family—exchanges Mom’s laptop for a leaf, Dad’s PDA for a flower and brother Bob’s tablet for the ladybug that’s clung to her dress throughout her adventure. Inked letters toggle between a digital look (for the device-obsessive scenes) and a brushy, casually penned script for the wider world. In the charming penultimate spread, the family (with that ladybug now clinging to Bob) admires the falling leaves; in the last, all four ride careening (or swimming) animals.
This wry object lesson blends clever design and a sincere, never-preachy delivery. Terrific! (Picture book. 3-7)