cover image The Doldrums

The Doldrums

Nicholas Gannon. Greenwillow, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-232094-0

On Archer Helmsley’s ninth birthday, his grandparents vanish while exploring an iceberg in Antarctica. Two years later, Archer (along with his best friend Oliver, the fretful son of a newspaperman, and Adélaïde, a mysterious Parisian girl with a wooden leg) plans to embark on a rescue mission—if only his overprotective mother would let him leave the house. Newcomer Gannon reveals himself as a skilled storyteller, both in his writing and artwork. His quippy quotes, whimsically meandering exposition, and penchant for the gently absurd breathe life into his three main characters, while his full-color illustrations—precise, elegant, and haunting—are a delightful means of seeing into his mind’s eye. Archer has a vibrant imagination, spending lonely days inside the family home daydreaming and making conversation with a menagerie of taxidermied creatures, while Adélaïde’s missing limb is the subject of spirited schoolyard gossip involving a hungry crocodile, speculation that Adélaïde herself is happy to fuel. It’s a tender tale of friendship, untapped courage, and accidental adventure, filled with the spirit of exploration. Ages 8–12. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.)