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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nanook & Pryce, written by Ned Crowley and illustrated by Larry Day. Harper, 2009. $22.50 ages 3 and up

"Salty brine
Floating free
Tangled line
Out to sea"

How do they do it? Where do the ideas come from?

Open this book to the endpapers and you will stop in your tracks to take a careful look at the world-wide trek portrayed there. So much to see and appreciate before the book begins. There's another stop on the title page, as we take note of the characters who will people this story...a can of worms, an awakening curly-tailed dog named Yukon, and two yawning, parka-clad young 'uns. It's dark as they make their way to their fishing hole this early morning. The polar bears are fascinated and stick close to watch the action.

The hooks are baited, the fishing hole is drilled and the ice floe breaks free of land, without apparent concern on the part of the fishermen. Their fishing lines catch in the fins of a whale and their small ice floe embarks on a remarkable and hilarious journey filled with action and adventure. The fisherman seem oblivious to the many dangers they encounter while Yukon and the worms are NOT!

Each double page spread offers up hilarity and so many details to be pored over by both reader and listener. When their catch is carried off by greedy pelicans, Yukon is left holding knife and fork in front of an empty plate. Nanook and Pryce know when the jig is up. They head for home after one final look through the ice hole. The polar bears provide a push to get their puzzle piece ice floe back to land and the adventurers head for hearth and and worms in tow. Good nights are spoken and we are left in the diminishing light to note the peanut butter jar and empty plates atop the night table.

What fun this book is! There is so much to see. It is told in rhyming couplets which makes it a sure-fire choice for early readers. They will soon be reading it on their own. The endpapers allow a revisit of the entire adventure and will be checked and rechecked for reference when retelling the tale.

We can only hope there are more adventures in the works for Nanook and Pryce!

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