Updated: October 30, 2013 6:17AM
I’ve never been the best traveler around. I get antsy and want to get home all too soon.
The “Mysterious Traveler” by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham takes place in the desert. We open with four camels, three with men and one special camel, Jin-Jin, with a precious package.
When a dust storm hits, the camels are separated and we watch as Issa, the best tracker in the desert, finds Jin-Jin protecting the treasure, which turns out to be a baby girl.
Issa raises the girl and teaches her to track. As Issa ages, he loses his sight, and they become a team of trackers — Issa, Mariana and Jin-Jin.
I won’t tell you all the adventures, but the three men who “lost” the precious package do come back and we learn that Mariana is the sister of one of the travelers.
She is the daughter of the king of a country far away. P.J. Lynch brings his spectacular illustrations to make this story complete.
I am a cat person. I love Inga Moore’s “Captain Cat.”
Obviously, Captain Cat loves cats. He has more cats on board his ship than crew.
He loved to travel and at night, would snuggle down with his charts and maps and cats and plan his journeys. He was a trader and at last he is ready to explore as well as trade.
He sets off and a storm appears and blows him off course. He finds a lovely island which is ruled by a Queen (you’ll love this young, casual ruler) who has never seen a cat. There are none on the island.
During the feast she has for Captain Cat, they must eat fast or the rats will take all the food. Of course, Captain Cat brings his pets and the rats are soon lined up dead.
The Queen is delighted and offers him treasure and he leaves his cats (they like island living) and travels on, alone.
He spreads the word and soon more traders are coming to the island bringing other delights. The Queen pays them with kittens.
They take them home and disgustedly give them to Captain Cat. He takes them back and settles on the island for good, happy with his friends, the Queen and the cats.
If you are going to travel, you need maps to help you know where to go. Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinska bring us a delightful oversized book of “Maps.”
This atlas is not totally accurate. It does not include all the countries of the world but it does offer great looks at the “main” ones.
Africa is represented by different countries in different parts of the continent, as is South America. The maps are filled with pictures and facts making this a spectacular vocabulary builder as well as geography lesson.
The inside front cover is the table of contents and shows you what is included in detail, and the inside back covers show the flags of the world.
GPS devices are making map reading a skill that is hard to come by, but this should help kids enjoy maps just for maps’ sake.