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Picture Book Review by Roxanne Troup – The Boy Who Loved Maps




Written by Kari Allen

Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

(Anne Schwartz Books; $17.99; Ages 4-8)





Kari Allen and G. Brian Karas have created a charming picture book that celebrates all the things we love about home in The Boy Who Loved Maps.

From Penguin Random House: “The Mapmaker loves maps—he loves to collect them, to study them, and most of all, to make them. But when a girl asks for a map of a perfect place, the Mapmaker is perplexed. She wants a map to a toes-in-the-sand-warm, X-marks-the-spot-place filled with treasures, where it smells like her birthday and she can zip around like a dragonfly. Surely, a place that is all of these things can’t exist … can it?”


The Boy Who Loved Maps int1 one day
Interior art from The Boy Who Loved Maps written by Kari Allen and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Anne Schwartz Books ©2022.


This story is perfect for the quiet adventurers among us and would make an excellent classroom edition for map-making and map-reading units. From the endpapers to the map-themed backmatter and built-in activities, this book covers features like the compass rose, map legends/keys, and topographical and political map differences.


The Boy Who Loved Maps int2 together
Interior spread from The Boy Who Loved Maps written by Kari Allen and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Anne Schwartz Books ©2022.


I especially love the subtle message of home that both the adventure-loving and adventure-avoiding can appreciate. When the young girl challenges her map-making friend to create the “perfect” map, it takes an afternoon of exploring before he finally understands that home is the best place of all.

  •  Reviewed by Roxanne Troup



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One Camel, Two Kids and Five Skies!

In  Adventures With Kazmir The Flying Camel: The Five Skies by Gina L. Vivona, readers will find enough amazing exploits to keep them turning the 121 pages and will be sad to say good-bye to the well-developed characters at the story’s end.  And while I do not usually review self-published titles, I am so glad I agreed to read Vivona’s book because it was so original, entertaining and imaginative. Don’t forget, too, to visit the fabulous website with a sample chapter, fun stuff to do, a parent’s page and more! If you purchase the audiobook you will also be treated to a narration by three-time Emmy Award-winner Bryan Cranston along with wonderful, mood-setting music that will transport you instantaneously to a magical land where anything can happen.

The story: involving a camel, a kidnapped prince and his power-crazed evil uncle promises action, adventure and even danger for an archaeologist’s daughter, Michael-Ann on a dig with her dad, in Egypt. Without giving away too much, I can tell you this fun fantasy takes place not only in ancient and present day Egypt, but in five unique settings known as the Five Skies.  I will also share that the kidnapped prince is being held in a no man’s land only reached by collecting and piecing together five fragments of a shattered mirror. Each part of the mirror can be found in one of the Five Skies, but reaching these remote places proves more than a challenge for 12-year-old Michael-Ann and Kazmir who have taken on the daunting, perilous task of rescuing the prince. Vivona has woven a wonderful tale for pre-teens full of fluffy clouds (Rain Masters), gigantic spiders (Wish Weavers), Optionators and unimaginably inventive locales that beg to be revisited over and over because of just how amazing they are.

By the time the book ends, Michael-Ann will have experienced such a multitude of emotions and escapades that returning to the dig will certainly open her eyes to the richness of life and love with which she is blessed.

The best part: Adventures With Kazmir The Flying Camel is available as an Audiobook, MP3, paperback, Kindle, and eBook.  For more information, visit Proceeds benefit the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles.

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