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Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Not-So-Faraway Adventure, written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher. Kids Can Press, 2016. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"It wasn't long before Theo and Poppa were sketching a map. "This is where we are," said Poppa, marking an X on the page. "And this is where the streetcar goes," said Theo, drawing a long line from where they were to where they wanted to go."

Poppa is a traveller, and a collector. Theo loves looking at the souvenirs he has garnered on all of his trips. It makes her want to be just like him. In thinking about that, Theo comes up with a great idea to celebrate his birthday. She will create a new trek she is sure he will love, and she will be with him for it.

Together they make a grand plan, even designing a map of the journey they will take. It includes the street car ride, some time at the beach, and a visit at the restaurant there. It's a carbon copy of the birthday celebrations he and Nana had shared when she was still alive.

Plans made, the big day arrives and the two are off on their new adventure. They see so much from the streetcar window, and soon they make their stop at the beach. The map comes in handy to
guarantee they are in exactly the right spot. The beauty of the beach makes it feel as if they are on one of Poppa's past trips. There's time to explore the soft sand, the shallow water and take some pictures before they make their way to the restaurant where they eat gazpacho, delicious and worth every last slurp. Poppa takes a picture of his granddaughter to add to his treasure trove at home. To say Theo is pleased is an understatement.

Once home, there is another surprise and Theo has things of her own to add to Poppa's trunk.

I have mentioned my admiration for Irene Luxbacher's mixed media artwork in other posts. It is rendered in Photoshop and the illustrations demonstrate the joy found in spending time together. The colors are rich, the pages filled with details sure to attract a child's attention and perhaps to encourage a try at creating collage for themselves. The trees are glorious, the hustle and bustle of the city evident, as is the peaceful quiet of time spent at the beach.

Short trip or long, it's who you spend your time with that makes lasting memories. This is such a special story, and it will be much appreciated by all. You might want to remember it for September's celebration of Grandparent's Day. This is a gift to be savored.

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