The Adventures of Polo

Regis Faller, Author, Regis Faller, Illustrator . Roaring Brook/Porter $16.95 (75p) ISBN 978-1-59643-160-7

With a sunny disposition and unshakeable confidence, Polo embarks upon physics-defying, wordless adventures. Like a Euro-Snoopy styled by French artist Faller, Polo is not particularly doglike, despite his chocolate-brown beagle ears and the spot over his right eye. Instead, his school uniform, canvas knapsack and upright posture make him resemble a proud scout on safari. When he sets off from his enviable island treehouse, he decides to take his umbrella, a practical choice that helps him balance on a tightrope and shields him from the sun. He jets along on a cumulus puff to the cloud-home of a bear, then lowers himself into a jaunty boat with his name on it. Throughout the comics panels, Polo is often startled but never really frightened, and his small smile bespeaks an imperturbable curiosity. When he and a marmalade cat climb a frozen mountain and encounter a polar bear, exclamation points of sweat show their concern, until the roaring bear skitters away and they chuckle with relief. Even when Polo seems in danger (are those giant eyeballs peeking into his submarine?), the surprises are pleasant (no, just a friendly beluga with polka-dot spots). Faller depicts exotic realms in gemlike colors, calling to mind Le Petit Prince and Tintin . He alternates series of panels with roomy full-page images, slowing the action before Polo trots off to the next volcanic crater or glowing lunar landscape. Readers will crack up at the pitched suspense and reassuring outcomes, all of which the unruffled Polo takes in breezy stride. Ages 4-8. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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