Except Antarctica

Todd Sturgell. Sourcebooks Explore, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-72823-326-0
Readers of animal facts books are accustomed to the phrase “on every continent except Antarctica” being applied to myriad species. But how do the animals themselves feel about this categorization? Based on the reaction of a turtle who dons a cozy hat and starts out on a we’ll-show-you expedition to the frozen south, the same way as young readers who’ve been told something is off limits: defiant. Joining the passel of critters following the turtle, a snake archly informs the book’s unseen and increasingly frustrated narrator that its species is “known to break the rules.” After an unpleasant trip stacked on top of the turtle’s back, they arrive in Antarctica only to discover that it is, indeed, exceedingly cold. But while the narrator can’t resist a smug “HA!” as they leave, that triumph is fleeting: the emperor penguin has just heard that it is found only in Antarctica. Digitally colored pen and ink drawings vary tonally—a couple of threateningly stormy spreads veer away from the book’s otherwise comical vibe—but debut creator Sturgell has a savvy sense of visual pacing, and the meta-comic repartee is spot-on. “Why would a dung beetle travel to Antarctica with a turtle and an owl?” the narrator asks. “Two words,” replies the beetle: “Penguin poop.” Ages 4–8. Agent: Molly O’Neill, Root Literary. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/06/2021
Release date: 07/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-1-7282-3327-7
Book - 978-1-7282-3328-4
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