The Land of Neverbelieve
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The Land of Neverbelieve

by Norman Messenger
     
 

Somewhere in the middle of the sea (not always in the same place) lies the island of Neverbelieve, populated with unusual creatures and astonishing discoveries.

Explore the Land of Neverbelieve in these lush, vibrantly illustrated pages. Meet the island’s gentle, doll-like inhabitants. Discover its boggling collection of trees, such as the pasta tree

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Overview

Somewhere in the middle of the sea (not always in the same place) lies the island of Neverbelieve, populated with unusual creatures and astonishing discoveries.

Explore the Land of Neverbelieve in these lush, vibrantly illustrated pages. Meet the island’s gentle, doll-like inhabitants. Discover its boggling collection of trees, such as the pasta tree, the rope tree, and the chocolate tree (taste the peppermint center if you have a chance). Be certain to visit Book Mountain, which whispers stories at bedtime. Observe the volcanic turtle and screaming night moth from afar. And beware the Spooky Dark Mountains, a horribly horrible area full of never-ending nastiness. Above all, don’t go swimming or sailing, lest the island get up and walk away. Investigating the Land of Neverbelieve is a fantastical adventure for imaginative young readers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Cutlery Tree, Sky Travelers, the Lurking Otter, and the Sawbill Bird all live in the Land of Neverbelieve, a lush, green island Messenger (Imagine) says he encountered while “quietly puttering about at sea” in his boat. The island, he explains, periodically sprouts a pair of legs and relocates itself; this is why its residents dare not leave it, for fear that it will be gone when they return. Working along the lines of a visual encyclopedia or a guidebook to this imaginary land, Messenger uses delicate clouds of pencil and watercolor to draw the island’s trees (the Forgetful Tree “does not remember to produce branches or leaves”), scary fastnesses (the Spooky Dark Mountains), inhabitants (“friendly, gentle, and doll-like in stature”), and amusements (metamorphosing creatures that “transform, link, and stand upside down”). Every page is crammed with information and images; most have gatefolds with yet more fantastical creatures and outlandish details. “You would never believe...” read the introductions to several sections, echoing the title. The Land of Neverbelieve may wander, but fortunately the book can be returned to again and again. Ages 7–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
For young would-be tourists as well as students of nature's more fanciful imaginary reaches, the next best thing to an actual visit.
—Kirkus
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
An intrepid explorer happens across a mysterious island of incredible wonders that has the amazing ability to sprout legs and move to a new location on a whim. Before the island disappears, the explorer wanders freely, gathering and cataloging the exotic flora and fauna. The inhabitants are doll-like creatures who fashion clothing from flowers and leaves and live in colorful houses with windows that resemble candy treats. Curious trees like the Brick Tree and the Forgetful Tree (which does not remember to produce leaves) are two of the helpful trees. But beware the Tree of Horrible Hands that grows in the Spooky Dark Mountains, lest it reach out to grab you. Colorful flowers, otters that resemble rocks (the better to sneak up on fish), carrots and onions that grow above ground, a fish made completely of shells, and the Long-Nosed Pliers Cormorants who use pliers-like beaks to devour Clipper Crabs are just some of the intriguing sights on the island. Probably the happiest place to be is at the foot of Book Mountain. This is where the islanders choose to live, so they can listen to the mountain quietly tell bedtime stories. There is a delicacy to the illustrations, and every page contains a side flap for extended information. Intricate drawings detail every quirk and oddity, much to the delight of readers who will pore over the pages. Incredibly creative and imaginative, this is a true visual delight this will provide many happy hours exploring the complexities of this wondrous island. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up—"You would never believe the wondrous delights of the calm and tranquil clearing: a surprising, cherished tree, and if you are lucky, delightful surreal visitors showing off their talents." The gnarled, leafless alphabet tree in "The Happy Forest Clearing" is among a multitude of fanciful plants and animals in this extravagant travelogue. Some are surreal, others murky or indistinct in crowded double-page entries describing the author's encounters on a strange, heavily populated island he found one day "while quietly puttering about at sea in my boat." Messenger's soft-hued drawings, dominated by gray greens and tans, depict an island laid out in the profile of a wolf. Many views are extended in narrow foldout panels on one side or the other. The entries form a catalogue of the physical features, habitations, and flora and fauna of the island in dry, terse commentary-probably intended as tongue-in-cheek-set in brief introductions and captions for the numerous pictures. "You would never believe" the pasta tree that delivers spaghetti clusters with an "herb-like leaf, which tastes uncannily like basil." Some references are more likely to be understood by adults, and some of the jokes are pretty flat, but there are amusing incongruities lurking here as well. This is a browsing item for the oversize shelves; it could also be useful in prompting children to develop their own imaginary lands.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Free-floating imagination meets artistic expertise in this visual record of the exotic flora, fauna and (more or less) human residents encountered on an unexpected visit to an elusive island. Messenger extends his available space with one or two side flaps on nearly every spread and proceeds to fill it all. He provides formally posed, elaborately detailed images of such rare creatures as the tentacled Octofrog and the two-headed Double Cream Cow, along with plants like the Chocolate Tree (in a cutaway view to reveal its peppermint fondant center), a Pasta Tree and the grasping, sinister Tree of Horrible Hands. He also portrays such not-quite-natural features as the aptly named Spooky Dark Mountains and vocal Book Mountain. The brightly striped houses of the friendly, pig-footed local settlers cluster around the foot of the latter. The author points out odd behaviors and special features in chatty explanatory captions throughout, and he also notes that the island is hard to find because it will, without warning, extend legs and wander off. As indeed, it did to him in a moment of inattention. For young would-be tourists as well as students of nature's more fanciful imaginary reaches, the next best thing to an actual visit. (Picture book. 7-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763660215
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/09/2012
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 11.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
For young would-be tourists as well as students of nature's more fanciful imaginary reaches, the next best thing to an actual visit.
—Kirkus

Meet the Author

Norman Messenger is the author-illustrator of Imagine, among other books. A highly regarded illustrator, he is a founding member of the Association of Illustrators in Great Britain, where he lives.

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