Review of The Not-So-Faraway Adventure, by Andrew Larsen and Irene Luxbacher

The Not-So-Faraway Adventure

by Andrew Larsen and Irene Luxbacher

Kids Can Press, 2016. 32 pages.

This picture book charmed me. Here’s how it begins:

Theo’s Poppa was an explorer.
He had been everywhere.
He kept an old trunk packed with the pictures, postcards, maps and menus that he had collected on his adventures.
Whenever Theo looked inside the trunk, she found something interesting.

Theo, a little girl, shows us some of the things. The art is simple drawings combined with collage for some authentic-looking souvenirs. Theo wants to be an explorer like Poppa when she grows up.

But now it’s almost Poppa’s birthday, and Theo doesn’t know what to get him. When she asks him, he reminisces about how he used to go to a restaurant on the beach with Nana.

That gives Theo an idea. She went to a beach on a streetcar with her class last year, and there was a restaurant there.

It wasn’t long before Theo and Poppa were sketching a map.

“This is where we are,” said Poppa, marking an X on the page.

“And this is where the streetcar goes,” said Theo, drawing a long line from where they were to where they wanted to go. “Here’s the way from the streetcar to the beach.” She made a dotted line, like footprints. “And the restaurant is right here!” She marked another X on the map.

“And there’s you, and there’s me,” laughed Poppa, drawing two smiling faces. “We’re happy because we’ve just discovered something delicious to eat.”

The rest of the book is their adventure. They ride on the streetcar and play on the beach and take pictures of each other and eat at the restaurant.

When they come back, Theo’s Mom and Dad and little brother have a surprise party for Poppa. And Theo puts their map into Poppa’s trunk, remembering a wonderful adventure.

This book seems suitable for early elementary school kids, with the mapping and planning and riding the streetcar (with Poppa). However, I thought Theo looks younger than that. (But that just may be me.) There are a lot of words on each page, so I’d think twice about using this in preschool storytime.

But here’s a cozy inter-generational story of the perfect gift for grandpa — complete with mapping and planning and documenting their wonderful time together.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

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