The Adventures of Marco and Polo

Dieter Wiesmuller, Author, Beate Peter, Translator
Dieter Wiesmuller, Author, Beate Peter, Translator Walker & Company $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8027-8729-3
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Two unlikely friends--one from Antarctica, the other from an African jungle--meet by chance when a cruise ship puts in at the South Pole. Marco Monkey and Polo Penguin hit it off and, after visiting each other's homelands, attempt to find some middle ground that is ""neither too hot for Polo nor too cold for Marco."" Although their eventual selection (it's New York City, recognizable by the Chrysler and Empire State buildings) doesn't work out, this amiable story of friendship ends on an upbeat note, with the two returning to their native climes and becoming pen pals. German author/artist Wiesm ller strikes a jaunty tone with both narrative and artwork (when Polo's family--an enormous flock of penguins that fades off beyond the edges of the horizon--lines up to greet Marco, ""A great many flippers were shaken""; later when Polo meets Marco's abundant primate family, the text echoes, ""A great many hands were shaken""). With his gloriously lavish oil paintings, he navigates breezily between the distinctly different settings, offering such grand vistas as a blue whale breaching in the waters beside an icy cliff and the mistily majestic Victoria Falls, and his adept use of diffuse light works as effectively to convey the chill of a polar snowstorm as it does the sweltering African noonday sun. A congenial reflection on the nature of friendship, beautifully presented. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)
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