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|Freya & Zoose|
Author: Butler, Emily
Freya, a penguin, and Zoose, a mouse, become friends while stowaways on Salomon August Andre's 1897 hot air balloon expedition to the North Pole.
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/18)
School Library Journal (+) (12/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2018 First-time author Butler circumvents the fact that there are no penguins in the Arctic by delivering one there via hot-air balloon. Freya has an adventurer’s heart, a passion stoked by her beloved book, Hints to Lady Travelers; but her careful preparations for stowing away in the hot-air-balloon basket of a human expedition to the North Pole are thrown off when another passenger appears in her hiding place—a street-smart mouse named Zoose. Their odd-couple dynamic is instantly entertaining and deepens into friendship as they face life-threatening challenges in a hostile, frozen landscape. Thermes’ frequent whimsical illustrations help soften some of the story’s more harrowing moments. A word of caution, however (spoiler alert!): this is an ill-fated expedition, and one gutsy scene shows the last remaining human seated with a shotgun in his lap, which Zoose euphemistically describes as meeting death halfway. Young readers will likely have questions about this, and sensitive children will certainly be troubled. Nevertheless, this is a confident and sophisticated debut that will appeal to adventure-loving kids undeterred by nature’s harsher side. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2018 Gr 3–5—A first-rate animal fantasy with themes of friendship and resilience. Freya the rock hopper penguin and Zoose the mouse become reluctant shipmates when they both stowed away on Captain Salomon August Andrée's real-life 1890's balloon expedition to the North Pole. The bird's wealthy Scandinavian upbringing has made her into a judgmental snob complete with a large inheritance, steamer trunks, and a known-by-heart copy of Mrs. L.C. Davidson's 1899 Hints to Lady Travellers at Home and Abroad (yes, dear reader, that is an actual book). The London-born rodent, by contrast, has skulked and thieved his way through Europe and has the tastes and diction to show for it. Both consider themselves ready to abandon the other as soon as possible, until the dangers of the ill-fated expedition put their lives in each other's hands. Told from Freya's third-person perspective in a droll mock-Victorian style clearly influenced by Mrs. Davidson's guide, this adventure story has it all: hardship, humor, and a narrative arc that shows the companions overcoming their past family traumas and mutual dislike to save themselves and each other. Thermes's winsome black-and-white illustrations capture the quirky setting, where proper penguins wear cravats and pearls to eat fish by chandelier light. This skillfully told first novel will make a popular read-aloud; it's a worthy successor to Chris Kurtz's Adventures of a South Pole Pig and Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. VERDICT A first purchase for all public and elementary school libraries.—Beth Wright Redford, formerly of Richmond Elementary School Library, VT - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.