Marco, a fox, thirsts to know everything: "Why don't trees ever talk? How deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea?" A ship appears off the coast of Marco's forest. It's crewed by deer (they're poor sailors, they admit), and its figurehead is a stag with a massive set of antlers. Together with a flock of pigeons, Marco embarks on a nautical adventure in hopes of locating foxes who can answer his questions. The sailors encounter storms, dangerous rocks, and pirates before finding the island refuge they seek. In spreads that evoke seafaring motifs from the Odyssey to Treasure Island, the Fan brothers (The Night Gardener) lavish care on every delicate detail, from the ship's rigging to the foam on the waves. Breathtaking seascapes alternate with cozy scenes below decks as predators and prey huddle peaceably. Slater (Escargot) creates a story to lose oneself in, an adventure packed with risk and possibility. The ship becomes a community, and Marco and his questions part of its journey. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrators' agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Sept.)Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
K-Gr 2--A fox sets sail in search of answers to questions about life, the universe, and everything in this picture book fantasy. Marco the fox wonders about many things, but the other foxes are more concerned with chicken soup than with philosophy. When an antlered ship appears, captained by deer traveling to an island of "tall, sweet grass and short, sweet trees," Marco seizes the opportunity to seek out other foxes who may have answers. The crew sails across treacherous seas, triumphing over sharp rocks and fierce pirates before arriving safely at Sweet Tree Island. Alas, there are no foxes to be found, and Marco's travels have only yielded more questions. Yet, he also has new friends and the chance for further adventures--perhaps that is enough. Slater's adventure narrative is an epic journey with a classic feel, perfectly scaled for a picture-book audience. The straightforward text is lyrical, rhythmic, and begs to be read aloud. Graphite-and-pen illustrations by the Fan Brothers depict expressive, realistically drawn animals sporting the occasional hat or bandanna. As the distinctive prow of the antlered ship sails through ethereal seascapes, young audiences can follow its path through the detailed maps included on the endpapers. VERDICT Marco's discovery that the world is full of questions, but not always answers, is at once profound and entirely accessible to young audiences. Make this gently thrilling celebration of life's big questions a first-purchase.--Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MNCopyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
"This gorgeous, eye-opening adventure is an engrossing reading experience that proudly touts curiosity and finding friendship in kindred spirits.: — Julia Smith, Booklist STARRED Review, June 2017