SYLVIE Written and illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz (Walker Books US; $24.99, Ages 9-12)…
The Land of Neverbelieve ($17.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 7 and up) will take you deep inside an imaginary wonderland of nature. British author/illustrator Norman Messenger writes from the perspective of an explorer who happens upon a most unusual island called “Neverbelieve,” which following his exploration, magically disappears from sight.
Like typical Candlewick Press titles, The Land of Neverbelieve is an extraordinarily sturdy, big and beautiful, high-quality book. The illustrations, which dominate the book, really pop on the thick satin paper, and each spread has a flip flap that opens to reveal more pictures you will not tire of viewing.
As I read the story I was reminded of the animal adventures of Charles Darwin who documented the many different species he observed on his famous journey that led to his theory of evolution. Luckily for the reader, Messenger documented The Land of Neverbelieve adventure in both words and glorious illustrations. Each of these pictures has a lengthy caption describing details of the whimsical “pretend” species, the inhabitants there and other highlights. The book is very imaginative; there are trees made from rope and chocolate, snakes so long they get tied up in knots, catfish that look like cats and so much more.
I like the way the book is presented as an explorer’s findings of a most unusual place and that readers can take their time to study each creative description. The Land of Neverbelieve is sure to stir the imagination and get every reader thinking about all the wonderful species of plants and animals out there, whether real or pretend. No one would argue that this is a really unique book and that the illustrations are outstanding. It would make a great gift for any child interested in science or one who loves to make up stories. And what child doesn’t like to do that?
Reviewed by Debbie Glade.