Explorers of the Wild

Cale Atkinson. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4847-2340-1
Atkinson (To the Sea) reveals that the call of the wild isn’t limited to humans. “I love to explore! It’s my favorite thing to do,” the book begins, and it’s clear that those sentiments are shared by both a human boy and a small bear. Both have walking sticks, eager smiles, and curious personalities, and when Atkinson writes that “explorers are prepared for everything,” parallel thought balloons show off their respective supplies: a camera, notebook, and flashlight for the boy, while the bear relies on a vine, fireflies, and stone tablets (both pack snacks). When the explorers meet, the nervousness is mutual, but they quickly recognize each other as kindred spirits, and the narration shifts accordingly: “Together, we found things to touch, things to see, things to hear.” Atkinson creates an invitingly verdant forest, radiant with golden sunlight and jammed with things to discover, including lizards underneath logs and not-so-tasty slugs. Beyond celebrating what nature has to offer, Atkinson leaves readers with the tantalizing and valuable idea that exploration of any kind, whether in the wilderness or not, can turn “I” to “we.” Ages 3–5. Agent: Nicole Tugeau, Tugeau2. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2016
Release date: 04/26/2016
Genre: Children's
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