The Voyage

Overview


In this delightful picture book, a small duck finds himself in a place full of unusual creatures who speak an unfamiliar language. Eventually, he meets an animal whose big feet are just like his own. And with a friend by his side, he soon can feel at home. First published in Norway in 2012, this deceptively simple book about adapting to new situations will appeal to children who are just starting school or daycare, children who are about to move to a new home, or children who are learning a new language. The ...
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Overview


In this delightful picture book, a small duck finds himself in a place full of unusual creatures who speak an unfamiliar language. Eventually, he meets an animal whose big feet are just like his own. And with a friend by his side, he soon can feel at home. First published in Norway in 2012, this deceptively simple book about adapting to new situations will appeal to children who are just starting school or daycare, children who are about to move to a new home, or children who are learning a new language. The illustrations are gently humorous, while the simple text affirms the importance of knowing who you are and being open to change. Without making unrealistic promises, this story reassures children that, with time, they can adapt to any new environment and make new friends to explore it with. And if, as happens to the little duck in this story, those new friends have to leave, the child, like the little duck, will be able to greet the next wave of newcomers with compassion and generosity.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
Perhaps there is no better way to evoke the universal than by enlisting the help of small forest animals, which the illustrator Camilla Engman does to delightful effect in The Voyage…the wit and inventiveness of the artwork make this voyage memorable.
Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
In a story first published in Norway, Salinas describes acclimating to life in a new country—or perhaps just to growth and change in general—in dreamy, metaphorical terms. The story’s events happen to the “you” of a second-person narrative: “And you land someplace. You think it’s strange there.” Engman does a yeoman’s job of creating a visual world from an abstract text. Her digitally colored drawings of naïf-style animals supply much of the story’s warmth. She draws a duck in a knit cap who’s blown by a gale to a place whose plants and trees look like alien life forms and whose animals don’t understand anything the duck says. Discouragement is followed by tears until a friendly duck appears, “someone who looks a little like you.” The two ducks understand each other, and eventually the speech of the other animals becomes familiar, too. Salinas’s musings on the subject of change will resonate especially with those who’ve had to move to a new home or immigrate to another country. Others may be baffled by the story’s enigmatic language. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"[T]he wit and inventiveness of the artwork make this voyage memorable." — The New York Times

"Salinas’s musings on the subject of change will resonate especially with those who’ve had to move to a new home or immigrate to another country." — Publishers Weekly

“And after a while, the wind dies down and you are standing alone. And sure enough, someone else comes along and says, ‘Hi,’ and now you can say, ‘Hi,’ and now you understand . . .”
— from the book

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Originally published in Norway as Reisen, this story of an unexpected voyage is addressed directly to the reader: "Maybe one day you have to leave." We see a light brown duck in a pink knitted cap blown by a mighty wind from a land of pines and birches to a country of oaks and rocks. She feels alone and disoriented; even when a fly, a fish, and a mouse speak to her, she cannot understand them. Just as she despairs, along comes someone who looks familiar—clearly a male mallard with his green head and white collar. What a relief to find another who understands and speaks her language! Artist-illustrator Engman then fills two spreads with companionable creatures and luscious folk-art flowers in deliciously muted colors. When another wind blows away the summer scene and the brown duck is left alone again, she is able to greet newcomers with a secure "Hello" and "I am me...Who are you?" Young readers and listeners following the little duck's journey can be reassured that change is not always bad and it is possible to weather a storm with confidence in yourself. Engman's digitally colored pictures are naive but knowing, full of amusing details (a hovering blue fly, a fish with red lips, a worm in sunglasses) to keep viewers turning the pages. The beautifully designed book will make an absorbing read-aloud, savored by adults and children alike. Kids might enjoy seeing colorful Norwegian children's-book covers at magikon.no—click on bildeboker. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
K-Gr 2—Originally published in Norway, this offering opens with the cryptic sentences, "Maybe one day you have to leave. And you are blown so far that you forget who you are and where you came from." What purports to be a story about knowing oneself and adapting to change will likely leave young readers scratching their heads. The central character, a brown duck, is blown far from home and lands in the woods where, initially, he sits down calmly and eats his lunch. But as time passes and nothing happens, he begins to wander around and asks a fly, a fish, and a mouse, "Do you know who I am?" Because they are different species, he cannot understand their answers, so he sits down on a rock and cries. Finally, along comes another duck who says, "You are who you are," and suddenly the brown duck understands everything and can speak to anyone, even after the wind inevitably returns and blows his new friend away. The hand-drawn and digitally colored illustrations in muted woodland tones are the best part of this book and bring at least a modicum of humor and charm to the heavy-handed text. Simple layered shapes representing trees and rocks are placed against a pale backdrop like paper cutouts, while the graphically rendered animals have a flat, modern quality that allows interesting details to shine. This book would benefit from being entirely wordless, allowing these approachable characters to tell a much more straightforward tale of feeling lost and being found through small acts of friendship. Unfortunately, the words just get in the way.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
A little duck acts as a stand-in for the immigrant experience in this title about change, loss and redemption. Despite a glaring design flaw in the too-small type chosen for the text, this story about a duck's journey from one place to another applies a deft touch to a complex topic for young readers. The direct address of the text ("Maybe one day you have to leave") juxtaposed with pictures of the duck packing belongings and being "blown so far that you forget who you are and where you come from" is quite effective in aligning readers with the bird. These scenes lead up to encounters with various animals who speak to the duck, baffling it, as it can't understand what they say. Feelings of alienation and sadness overcome the duck, with digitally colored art bolstering the text's description. Things look up when another duck, presumably native to the new land but an outsider in another way, befriends the protagonist by offering validation and comfort. This turning point ultimately affirms the need for a strong sense of self to precede the development of stability in a new place and community. An effective story, unique in its treatment of the immigrant or refugee experience as it addresses a younger audience than might be typical for this topic. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554983865
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 9/17/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 668,912
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Veronica Salinas studied theater and Portuguese in Buenos Aires and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Spanish and Portuguese literature at the University of Oslo. The Voyage is her first children’s book. Illustrator Camilla Engman lives and works in Gothenburg, Sweden.
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