CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 21 . . . . June 21, 2002
The three friends who explored the great wide seas in We'll All Go Sailing (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2001) are back for another adventure, this time taking to the sky in a hot air balloon. They fly through ten differently coloured skies including a sunny yellow morning sky, a "storm-dark" purple sky and a spooky "fog-filled" sky. Young readers will eagerly offer their own guesses to the question: "And what will we spy in the sky so high?" Two helicopters, three lightning bolts, six parrots and ten spaceships are just some of the surprises waiting behind the gatefolds.
At the end of the day, the high-flying threesome return from their travels to an appreciative audience waiting for them on the ground. They promise to "tell the story/Of the things we spied./And you can come too/On the next fun ride." The full text is reprinted on the last page and could be used to extend the game of "I spy" to include word recognition. Children might also like to continue the story by thinking of other sights they might see from a hot air balloon vantage point.
LaFave was nominated for a Governor General's Award for his illustrations in We'll All Go Sailing, and his work here is equally distinguished. The colour combinations are very striking, such as the royal purple shadow of the "prowling owl" set against the bright red of the "sunset sky." LaFave's textured art technique makes the images seem to leap off the page. These bold, energetic illustrations keep pace with the rollicking text.
As in Thompson's and Spicer's previous collaboration, this book offers many opportunities for reader participation. Children love the drama of opening the flap to reveal the hidden answers. Parents, teachers and librarians will find this book ideal for introducing elementary concepts, such as colour recognition, counting and matching shapes. But most importantly, as the children in my storytime can attest, the story is great fun!
Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
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