Travels of Thelonious (The Fog Mound Series #1)
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Travels of Thelonious (The Fog Mound Series #1)

4.5 2
by Susan Schade, Jon Buller
     
 

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In a world of talking animals, there is one burning question: Did humans ever exist? Thelonious Chipmunk believes he has proof that they did: a postcard showing a building made of concrete and glass. But his sister thinks the postcard's just a dumb piece of paper, and that humans are only make-believe.

Then one day a flash flood carries Thelonious away.

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Overview

In a world of talking animals, there is one burning question: Did humans ever exist? Thelonious Chipmunk believes he has proof that they did: a postcard showing a building made of concrete and glass. But his sister thinks the postcard's just a dumb piece of paper, and that humans are only make-believe.

Then one day a flash flood carries Thelonious away. When he comes to, he's in a strange world that looks something like his postcard, but not quite. Then he realizes that this is the city on his postcard, only crumbling and decaying. But if this means humans did exist, where did they go? Thelonious, along with some new friends, sets off to find out.

And thus, the adventure begins!

Editorial Reviews

When you hop onto the Fog Mound, you enter a realm that is half novel, half graphic novel, and completely wondrous. The little critter at its center is Thelonious, a chipmunk with the gift of speech. Literally plunging into new experiences, he washes up on ruined shores once occupied by those creatures of myth, humans. With a trio of new companions (a bear, a porcupine, and a lizard), he embarks on a journey any daydreamer will envy.
Publishers Weekly
In this first book in the Fog Mound series, a husband-and-wife team's novel/graphic novel hybrid smoothly alternates chapters between prose and comic book panels. Thelonious Chipmunk lives in the Untamed Forest in a shaky tree house; he has moved away from home because his family doesn't share his belief that human beings really existed at one time. High-tension, comic-style panels chronicle the fellow being literally swept off his feet during a rainstorm, into the City of Ruins complete with abandoned subways, stores and homes. He befriends Fitzgerald, a Vespa-driving porcupine who makes his home in a deserted bookstore. Together they meet the Olive Bear, who has learned to operate an "ultra-light" helicopter, or "velocicopter" (solar panels offer a convenient explanation for the problem of energy sources throughout the tale). Antics ensue, culminating in the discovery of a frozen human ("Frozen scientist," a sign reads, "Push red button to activate thawing process"), and the authors offer some savvy commentary on how members of any species should treat one another. The artwork's minimalist palette (black and blue) gives the story a quiet charm (even the prose sections contain an abundance of artwork), while a classy book design brings to mind Chris Ware, albeit more optimistic in theme. This tale creates a charming and compelling world, and ends with a whopper of a cliffhanger sure to bring readers back. Ages 8-12. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
What do a curious chipmunk (Thelonius), a bookish porcupine, a mechanically gifted bear, and a lizard have in common? They are all flying north from a ruined city in a homemade velocicopter to find the mountaintop utopia called Fog Mound. These animals can talk and some can read, but no humans are in sight—they are now only the stuff of legends. This is Book One of the "Fog Mound Trilogy," so presumably readers will eventually find out what happened to the humans and how their metropolis (suspiciously like New York) has come to such desolation. Writer Schade and cartoonist/illustrator Buller have collaborated on many books, but this must be their most innovative. Alternating between written text for narrative sections and witty, detailed cartoons for more active chapters, the creators achieve an effective blend of storytelling and graphic novel. The publisher has done an excellent job of presenting the result with its crisp cartoons in black, white, and pale blue, a nifty cover, and a size and shape that fits comfortably in the hand. Na‹ve little Thelonius is a charming and lively hero, while his friends—Olive the flying bear, the irritating but ultimately brave lizard, and the resourceful porcupine—make stout companions on the perilous journey. Readers get a glimpse of an environmentally perfect Fog Mound and, intriguingly, a frozen scientist who must be—a human! Although Buller's site map was inadvertently omitted by the publisher, fans can view it, as well as his pictorial autobiography, on the authors' web site.
Kirkus Reviews
Set in a future from which humanity has vanished, leaving only legends behind, this text-and-graphic-novel hybrid takes a chatty young chipmunk from the supposed safety of his hollow-tree home to a derelict city ruled by a komodo dragon with "ratmink" minions, and then on to an idyllic animal community perched atop a plateau ringed by poisonous fog. Along the way he gathers a trio of friends-most notably Olive, a mechanically minded bear whose flying machine provides a hair's breadth escape from the Dragon Queen. The illustrations, done in pen with light blue highlights, depict Thelonious and associates walking erect, wearing looted human-or in Thelonious's case-doll clothing and puzzling out the purposes of the human artifacts around them. In every other chapter, the text and pictures blend into full graphic-novel format, providing needed boosts to the tale's generally slow pacing. That, along with occasional quirky incidents such as the appearance of a mute (at first) homunculus may be enough to draw in a few readers, but those hoping for sustained drama, suspense or humor will be disappointed. An abrupt end signals future episodes on the way; perhaps they'll be better. (Fantasy. 10-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689876851
Publisher:
Aladdin
Publication date:
05/08/2007
Series:
Fog Mound Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
529,172
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
530L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Schade works as a team with her husband, Jon Buller. They have worked together on many previous books for children. Jon does the illustrating and Susan writes the stories. For the Fog Mound trilogy, Jon went back to what first sparked his interest in drawing—comics. They live in Lyme, Connecticut.

Jon Buller works as a team with his wife, Susan Schade. They have worked together on many previous books for children. Jon does the illustrating and Susan writes the stories. For the Fog Mound trilogy, Jon went back to what first sparked his interest in drawing—comics. They live in Lyme, Connecticut.

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Travels of Thelonious (The Fog Mound Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was perfect for my son (age 8yrs) whom we have to force to do his nightly reading. It had THE MAGICAL EQUATION: one chapter was mostly printed words followed by a graphic/cartoon chapter with few words and GREAT illustrations! The WRITTEN chapters were funny, well written, and exciting (adventurous little chipmunk!). However, without the GRAPHIC chapters; my son hates reading so much, he wouldn't have kept reading on his own. Those GRAPHIC chapters offered him enough incentive to keep forging through until he was "rewarded" with their wonderful, cleaver, and funny illustrations (with a few captions thrown in)! Aside from all that, this book would have gotten 5 stars from me based solely on the fact that it is WELL WRITTEN. It had a good, strong plot. It had characters to which one (not just children) could relate and for whom one would root. The sentence structure was varied and the author's "voice" was a far cry from the monotone in which I find most children's chapter books to be written. The authors made the astounding assumption that children may be able to understand and appreciate things beyond their reading level while still keeping the reading level appropriate for their target age range.
Teaspoon More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I grabbed this book for myself, while claiming it was for my 10-year old. She's been indifferent towards it, but I ripped through it quickly and ran back to buy the second book in the series. The illustrations are wonderful and the story unwinds at a good pace. There is nothing too scary in the plot, and the characters (talking chipmunk, motorscooter-riding porcupine, mechanically-adept bear) are charming. I did notice a 10-year-old boy who was immediately hooked by it, and I suspect it would be an excellent book for reluctant readers who still need illustrations to catch their interest. It would also be good for kids who aren't quite ready for the wonderful Bone series by Jeff Smith.