On a Journey

illus. by Guido Van Genechten. 32p. Clavis. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781605372761.
K-Gr 2—A pair of friends circle the globe in this picture book tribute to the transformative effect of leaving home. One spring day, Hedgehog invites Frog to join him in his convertible for a journey. Frog has "never been outside his own village," so he buckles his seat belt, and the two friends depart, driving over a mountain, making their way through a tunnel, and finally emerging at a seaside city. Along the way, Frog focuses on the destination, frequently asking if they've arrived and keenly aware of the long hours in the car. By contrast, Hedgehog concentrates on the trip itself, enjoying the sound of the rain and the thrill of driving over a mountain. After Frog is won over by the beauty of the sea and the possibility lying over the horizon, the two drive onto a ferry and continue their trip, arriving back home in the fall. Van Genechten's bright, colorful illustrations set the two friends against sweeping spreads of distinctly European landscapes. Older audiences will be most likely to appreciate the philosophy but may also question the plausibility of an around-the-world journey by car that doesn't require any supplies.
VERDICT An additional purchase with a worthwhile, if heavy-handed, message about enjoying life's journey.

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