The Airport Book

illus. by Lisa Brown. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626720916.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—Nobody knows what's become of Monkey except the preschooler who packed him, tail protruding from the zipper of her suitcase. And so Brown begins this brilliant little book that weaves a Knuffle Bunny-esque narrative into an expository introduction to air travel. It's raining in the city, and a mixed-race family of four take a cab to the airport on their way to see the grandparents. The first page shows a single car on a long, flat drive to their destination, but the page turn opens up to the chaos of the airport itself. Brown bumps up our interest by following several groups of passengers as she takes readers through the procedures and places in an airport, from drop-off to pick-up. There's the soccer team, a cranky old woman and her complacent husband, and a family of look-alike redheads. At check-in, security, and the gate and on the plane, careful readers will notice Monkey making a parallel journey. Each page offers a simple narrative reflection of the India ink and watercolor illustrations in text small enough not to distract from the page's visual impact. Well-placed speech bubbles create personalities for an airport's vast cast. The girl and her monkey are reunited at the end of the trip, and readers have learned what to expect when they fly. Planes fascinate children, and there is no shortage of books to develop that interest. There's always room for one more, especially one this good.
VERDICT A must-buy for most libraries.

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