PreS-Gr 2-The fearless feline Zoom is off on another fantastic adventure with his friend Maria to search for his Uncle Roy, a ship's captain at the North Pole. Maria worries because she has not heard from him for many weeks. Donning their warmest clothes, the pair begin their search, beginning with a steep trudge up the long staircase in Maria's big house. They climb snow-covered stairs and pass frosty furniture until they stop at a small hallway door. It opens into a dark, cold tunnel. Adventure and anticipation build as Zoom follows the darkness to the tunnel's end and out into the wintry, snow-capped North Pole. With surprise and relief, Zoom spies his uncle's ship and finds a note on a table explaining that he has headed south. The story captures and keeps readers' attention from beginning to end with its action-packed narrative and accompanying pencil illustrations that draw eyes from words to picture and on to the following page. The short, imaginative sentences have a manageable vocabulary for beginning readers. The only color is on the dust jacket- just enough soft pastels of snowmen standing in a hallway to pique interest. The interior black-and-white illustrations display details with a quality of shading that gives each one a photographic look. There is total harmony in this bit of fantasy and adventure- enough to keep curiosity aroused and anticipation high for young audiences.-Mary Lou Budd, Milford South Elementary School, OH
The second book in a series that has twice won the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award (the Canadian Caldecott) finds white cat Zoom traveling to the North Pole in search of his seafaring uncle. Journeying with his human friend Maria through the icy, snow-filled corridors of her mansion, Zoom goes it alone at a tiny doorway leading to "The Northwest Passage." It's too bad that Maria shows up later at the abandoned Cat Ship to take Zoom home, since this plucky kitty needs no rescue. The final scene showing the two friends asleep in an elegant living room will make young listeners and readers wonder if this--like so many fantasies--"really happened" or was just a dream. While the text is elegantly streamlined, it assumes knowledge of the characters and events in the first book. Reminiscent of the work of Chris Van Allsburg, the full-page, episodic, black-and-white pencil drawings have a strong handling of light and shadow, composition and form.