Off & Away

illus. by Cale Atkinson. 48p. Disney-Hyperion. Jun. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484782323.
PreS-Gr 2—This affecting tale begins, "Out at sea, there is a place where all the messages in bottles gather." It's Jo's dad's job to gather them and get the messages to their recipients. He always has marvelous adventures and Jo would love to join in, but she's too scared. Her visions of the terrifying creatures that lie in wait below the surface are so over-the-top that she's afraid she'll never return. Jo is forced to face her fears, however, when her dad is too sick to make his deliveries and the bottles are piling up. Of course, every fear the little heroine has turns out to be unfounded, and she even gets to help the creatures she thought so forbidding. Children whose fears are starting to get the better of them can benefit from Jo's journey; but the tale, which is gorgeously illustrated in bright hues that bring the ocean and its not-so-scary creatures to life, will also appeal to young readers.
VERDICT An engaging read-aloud and a worthy addition to storytime collections.

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