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by Norman Messenger & illustrated by Norman Messenger

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6021-5
Publisher: Candlewick

Free-floating imagination meets artistic expertise in this visual record of the exotic flora, fauna and (more or less) human residents encountered on an unexpected visit to an elusive island.

Messenger extends his available space with one or two side flaps on nearly every spread and proceeds to fill it all. He provides formally posed, elaborately detailed images of such rare creatures as the tentacled Octofrog and the two-headed Double Cream Cow, along with plants like the Chocolate Tree (in a cutaway view to reveal its peppermint fondant center), a Pasta Tree and the grasping, sinister Tree of Horrible Hands. He also portrays such not-quite-natural features as the aptly named Spooky Dark Mountains and vocal Book Mountain. The brightly striped houses of the friendly, pig-footed local settlers cluster around the foot of the latter. The author points out odd behaviors and special features in chatty explanatory captions throughout, and he also notes that the island is hard to find because it will, without warning, extend legs and wander off. As indeed, it did to him in a moment of inattention.

For young would-be tourists as well as students of nature's more fanciful imaginary reaches, the next best thing to an actual visit. (Picture book. 7-10)