cover image Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island (Kondo & Kezumi #1)

Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island (Kondo & Kezumi #1)

David Goodner, illus. by Andrea Tsurumi. Little, Brown, $14.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-368-02577-5

After she finds an intriguing map in a bottle, adventurous Kezumi—a small orange island dweller—persuades her much warier and larger companion, yellow Kondo, to build a boat and explore. One of the islands they find is made of cheese, another is dark and frightening, and the third is the home of a friendly volcano named Albert, whose loneliness requires deft handling. (When they discover that they can’t leave the island because their boat has disappeared, Kezumi suspects Albert: “IT DID BLOW AWAY... BECAUSE I BLEW IT AWAY,” the landmass confesses.) In prose that’s both simple and dynamic, Goodner offers a realistic sequence about boat building: “They had to make it float. Then they had to make it sail. Then they had to make it turn.” Food-gathering and other foraging scenes add fascinating survival elements, and smooth, polished artwork by Tsurumi features monster-esque characters with expressive faces as well as luxuriant flora and fauna. The personal relationships, various environments, and building projects provide multiple points of engagement to keep new readers motivated. Ages 6–8. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Oct.)