With a sunny disposition and unshakeable confidence, Polo embarks upon physics-defying, wordless adventures. Like a Euro-Snoopy styled by French artist Faller, Polo is not particularly doglike, despite his chocolate-brown beagle ears and the spot over his right eye. Instead, his school uniform, canvas knapsack and upright posture make him resemble a proud scout on safari. When he sets off from his enviable island treehouse, he decides to take his umbrella, a practical choice that helps him balance on a tightrope and shields him from the sun. He jets along on a cumulus puff to the cloud-home of a bear, then lowers himself into a jaunty boat with his name on it. Throughout the comics panels, Polo is often startled but never really frightened, and his small smile bespeaks an imperturbable curiosity. When he and a marmalade cat climb a frozen mountain and encounter a polar bear, exclamation points of sweat show their concern, until the roaring bear skitters away and they chuckle with relief. Even when Polo seems in danger (are those giant eyeballs peeking into his submarine?), the surprises are pleasant (no, just a friendly beluga with polka-dot spots). Faller depicts exotic realms in gemlike colors, calling to mind Le Petit Prince and Tintin. He alternates series of panels with roomy full-page images, slowing the action before Polo trots off to the next volcanic crater or glowing lunar landscape. Readers will crack up at the pitched suspense and reassuring outcomes, all of which the unruffled Polo takes in breezy stride. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
One morning Polo packs his backpack, opens his umbrella, and begins a walk along a string that stretches outward from his island home. Thus, Polo's adventures begin. He travels through clouds, on the ocean, and under it. He visits a volcano and then attends a party in a tree. He awakens a polar bear and rescues a snowman. A spaceship takes him to a strange planet. On his way back to Earth, he seems headed for disaster, but a kind pelican rescues him and flies him back home. The last picture shows Polo sitting under his umbrella outside the door to his tree house reading a book. The various characters he had met during his adventures surround him. Were his exploits all found within his imagination and the pages of his book? Longer than most picture books (76 pages), this creative story unfolds without words. Brightly colored, cartoony illustrations feature a small, flop-eared dog interacting with other appealing animal characters, including monkeys, birds, fish, a cat, and a whale. This import from France has universal appeal. The pictures tell the story. Young children everywhere will take delight in joining Polo on his imaginative journey. 2006 (orig. 2002), A Neal Porter Book\Roaring Brook Press, Ages 5 to 9.
Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
PreS-Gr 3-Polo is a delightfully engaging and most resourceful canine. Equipped only with a small backpack filled with a few necessities, he roams the world and beyond, venturing from the ocean depths into outer space and everywhere in between. Whether traveling by boat, plane, spaceship, or swiftly scuttling cloud, this plucky pup is always primed for his next escapade, all the while collecting friends from the four corners of the universe. Young readers will be charmed by this hound, and be awed by his ingenuity. Somewhat similar to a graphic-novel format, this wordless picture book contains bold, colorful, cartoon panels that are sure to captivate even the most finicky youngster.-Debbie Lewis O'Donnell, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Clad in jacket and short pants, a dot-eyed, flop-eared spaniel sets out for a stroll that takes him from the bottom of the sea to an exotic planet, and many points between. In this nearly wordless import, cinematically "narrated" in sequential panels of various size, little Polo travels by cloud, boat, glider and balloon, finds a star in a treasure chest on the ocean floor, pauses to roast hot dogs by a lava flow, joins a monkey band for a quick tune, frees an imprisoned snowman, travels into space with a feline companion met along the way and many other such exploits, before returning home at last to relax in the shade with a book. Drawn with simple lines and bright colors, the art has plenty of eye appeal, and even very young children will have no trouble following this smiling, nearly imperturbable pooch from adventure to adventure-both here and on his inventively interactive website. (Picture book. 4-6)