An icy trip to the North Pole is the latest challenge for brave (``HA HA! I laugh at danger'') explorer Ralph. The arctic antics begin when, armed with mukluks, woolly mittens and a team of huskies, Ralph heads north to scale mountain after frosty mountain. Following a series of slippery mishaps, he is rescued by an igloo building polar bear with ``an extraordinary sense of direction,'' and they continue the expedition together. Primavera's tongue-in-cheek romp perfectly matches her sweeping, snowy scenes. Cool blues and shimmering whites at first provide a quiet backdrop for humorous touches of life at the top of the world, then dramatically swirl together in a series of dazzling winter storms. Young readers will laugh out loud at this shivery story and warm up to Ralph's realization that any adventure is better when shared with a friend. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- An arctic adventure shared by a talking polar bear and a famous explorer is the focus of this story. Ralph, an adventurer, decides to travel to the one place he's never been: the North Pole. Although he quickly loses dogs and dogsled, he is undaunted and struggles on. Luckily, he meets a polar bear interested in joining his expedition; although they are separated by a fierce snowstorm, the two friends are reunited at the end of their quest. Unfortunately, the plot is no more intriguing than this summary. The matter-of-fact tone and brisk pace diminish the potential appeal of the fantastic elements, and the story is short on characterization and plot detail. The book's strength is the fine quality of its artwork. Visual jokes are sprinkled liberally throughout, as are details that illuminate and expand the text. Best of all, Primavera's swirling blues, greens, purples, and whites give depth and beauty to the trackless, snowy wastes traversed by her heros. Given her skill and engaging sense of humor, it's likely that most readers will overlook the lackluster narrative to linger over the appealing illustrations. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
ELISE PRIMAVERA has illustrated many books for children, including the bestselling Auntie Claus, which she also wrote, and Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen, which was honored with the Christopher Award. She lives in New Jersey.