The Fog

by Kyo Maclear (Author) Kenard Pak (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
A clever and whimsical environmental fable about a bird who is a human-watcher from a dynamic author-illustrator duo.

Warble is a small yellow warbler who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human watching. But on a warm day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don't seem to notice the fog or the other changes Warble observes on the island. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile) appears, Warble discovers that he's not the only one who notices the fog. Will they be able to find others who can see it too? And is the fog here to stay? Kyo Maclear's witty story, brought to life with the delicate, misty artwork of Kenard Pak, is a poignant yet humorous reminder of the importance of environmental awareness.

Publishers Weekly

Maclear (The Liszts) and Pak (When the World Is Dreaming) deliver readers to an icy island overtaken by a persistent fog in this haunting but hopeful allegory. On the island, a yellow bird named Warbler observes human visitors through binoculars; the fog impedes this habit, but more alarming is its effect on the island's residents. "I wouldn't even call it fog, a offers a blackbird. Mist, maybe." An owl suggests acceptance: "Sometimes these things happen." With the aid of a human girl, a "red-hooded spectacled female (juvenile)," to be precise, Warbler draws attention to the situation, and that very awareness lifts the fog. The message that the first step to addressing a problem is acknowledging its existence is an important one, whatever the issue at hand, and Pak's airy mixed-media images smartly play moments of humor against an understated sense of menace. NB: the hilarious scientific classifications for ballplayers ("#674 swift red-capped pitcher"), beatniks ("#664 American bushy-browed surf-head"), children ("#659 whooping bare-chested male"), and other human specimens on the endpapers are not to be missed. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator's agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2—A small yellow warbler lives on an icy island in the far north. Warble is different from the other birds; he is a serious human-watcher ("#671 BEHATTED BIBLIOPHILIC FEMALE," "#672 BALD-HEADED GLITZY MALE"). One day a warm fog rolls in, and it stays. Warble worries about this change but fails to galvanize his other feathered neighbors, who cannot be bothered. The situation grows worse, and Warble is more isolated and concerned until he spots a new human, "#673 RED-HOODED SPECTACLED FEMALE (JUVENILE)." The two join forces ("CHIRP! CHIRP!" "I'M LISTENING!"). Together, after launching many folded paper boats, they manage to locate other allies around the world—a note from a walrus in eastern Canada, one from a musk ox in Norway, and one from some cats in England. These creatures, too, see the fog and want to fix it, and thus the fog begins to lift and the world around them grows clearer. The pencil, watercolor, and digital illustrations capture the spirit of the story, the beauty of the landscape, and the haunting fog while also adding just the right amount of humor to balance the serious theme. The endpapers cataloguing Warble's human sightings are a treat. The parable-style tale keeps the solution metaphorical and the message clear. VERDICT This thoughtful selection, full of amusing details, has much to offer readers and listeners who are thinking about the importance of the environment and the need to come together to care for it.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A Quill & Quire Best Kids' Book of the Year (2017)
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2017
A CBC Books Best Canadian Young Adult and Children's Books (2017)


"This thoughtful selection, full of amusing details, has much to offer readers and listeners who are thinking about the importance of the environment and the need to come together to care for it." —School Library Journal

"[S]weet and compelling . . . Pak's watercolour and pencil illustrations are playfully reminiscent of Nova Scotian painter Alex Colville." —Globe and Mail

"Maclear (The Liszts) and Pak (When the World Is Dreaming) deliver readers to an icy island overtaken by a persistent fog in this haunting but hopeful allegory." —Publishers Weekly

"This book is a tribute to all those wonderful people (and birds) who are bothered, and who understand that it is important to see, and confront, the problems that face us all." —Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

"A perfect and gentle introduction to environmental issues for young readers everywhere." —Picture Books Blogger

"The whimsical drawings help add humor to the story, which shows readers that when faced with a problem you must first recognize it before you can fix it. The subtle message is not lost and readers will enjoy the light-hearted humor peppered throughout the story... Recommended." —School Library Connection

PRAISE FOR Julia, Child (by Kyo Maclear):

"Maclear, who began her career writing for adults, has turned in to one of the country's best children's authors....I guarantee it'll leave you hungry." —The National Post

"[A] delicious new children's book...." —The Toronto Star

"Julie Morstad can do no wrong, and mixed with Maclear's musings on who these women might have been as girls, Julia, Child cooks up some real magic." —Huffington Post

PRAISE FOR Flowers Are Calling (illustrated by Kenard Pak):

"Pak's pretty, digitally worked watercolors achieve equilibrium between stylized reduction and naturalistic verisimilitude." —Kirkus Reviews

"Beautifully subdued watercolor and digital media illustrations, at times reminiscent of Jon Klassen's work, will draw readers into the text about symbiotic relationship between flowers and their pollinators." —Booklist

Kyo Maclear
Kyo Maclear is an award-winning writer and novelist. Her first book for children, Spork, has received a number of honors, including a 2011 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award nomination. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Isabelle Arsenault has illustrated several children's books, including Spork, My Letter to the World and Other Poems and Mr. Gaugin's Heart. She has received many awards for her work, including the Governor General's Award for Illustration. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
May 20, 2017

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