Katya Kolmakov and Olga Baron's evocative and charming illustrations suffuse Okunev's tale with splendor and warmth, and their vivid brushstrokes adeptly support the focus and intention of the story. Brimming with facts, information, and profound perspectives, Okunev's tale juggles several goals for his readers. At once, the book is an adequate introduction to geography and also a condensed ode to environmentalism, cartography, and imagination.
The unidentified narrator’s age remains ambiguous, but his tone and the maturity is inconsistent. Often, he is decidedly incisive and perceptive, but at other occasions, naïve and artless. The pacing suffers hiccups when the tale's premise is set twice within ten pages of each other, while sometimes laborious detailing of the characters and settings diminish the story's focus. Thought-provoking calls-to-actions at the end of all four chapters will engage readers and invite questions. Ultimately, this chapter book unfolds as an engrossing and informative read that mostly achieves its bold ambitions -- and in retaining the readers' attention.
Takeaway: Illuminating and often delightful, this picture book invites young readers to appreciate the world through the lens of Geography.
Great for fans of: Salvatore Rubbino’s A Walk in London, Kate Siber’s National Parks of the USA, Katie Wilson’s Landmarks.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: B+