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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mabel and Sam at Home: One Brave Journey in Three Adventures. Written by Linda Urban and illustrated by Hadley Hooper. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2018. $24.99 ages 5 and up

"Then first mate Sam heard a
sound. A rumbling sound.
"What was that?" asked First
Mate Sam. "Nothing," said
Captain Mabel. "Something,"
said First Mate Sam. "It was
a sea serpent," said Captain
Mabel. "I'm hungry," said
First Mate Sam. "Look,"
said First Mate Sam. "People!"

A book such as this one about siblings Mabel and Sam can be the precursor to a reader wanting to try an early chapter book. There are three sketches here, each is adventurous and amusing. Mabel, the older sister, takes the lead as they are wont to do. While she is a bit upended by the busyness that surrounds them as moving boxes and furniture find a spot in a brand new environment, she does her best to distract her little brother from the mess and confusion.

The first adventure has them in a room with little in it ... a rug and one box. Mabel's imagination kicks in and she takes on the persona of a sea captain, giving orders to Sam at a rapid pace and expecting obedience as they sail rough waters. Their trip is long; the seas finally calm. Mabel will not allow disembarking until the lure of pizza gives Sam hopes for dry land.

"The inhabitants have pizza," said First Mate Sam.
"They might be dangerous," said Captain Mabel.
"Starving might be dangerous, too," said First Mate Sam.
Captain Mabel looked at the inhabitants bearing pizza. They
did not seem as dangerous as sea serpents.
"Okay," she said. "All ashore."

The second adventure involves a lullaby chair in a brand new spot. That motivates Mabel to become  Tour Guide. The two make many new discoveries in this new museum. In the final flight of imagination They are inspired to take a trip to outer space. It turns a bed and some blankets into an exploration and explanation for the need for a new, bigger planet. Night is sneaking up on them, and they find the new planet decidedly homey. Sleeping together in their space ship offers comfort and reassurance ... a tired Dad tucks them in.

Hadley Hooper's wondrous artwork is created using traditional printmaking techniques finished in Photoshop. Her imagination matches the two enterprising and intrepid explorers. She uses variety in color to separate the three chapters ... navy for the seagoing, yellow for the museum visit, and a gray-green mix for their space exploration. Textured, filled with gentle humor and simply lovely all the way through, this book is perfect from start to finish.

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