The Great Explorer by Chris Judge

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The Great Explorer by Chris Judge

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A great adventure story that's a wonderful blend of both picture book and graphic novel.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Andersen
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849394017

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I really enjoyed Chris Judge's first book, The Lonely Beast so I was excited to pick up his latest story. This time we're following the story of a young boy called Tom. His dad, a famous explorer, has gone missing at the North Pole and so Tom sets out to find him. His adventurous, exciting journey sees him facing dangerous animals and the treacherous terrain. Will he make it to find his dad?

I really like the style of Chris Judge's artwork. His character, Tom, has a little bit of the feel of a contemporary Tintin I felt, and right from the front cover you're ready for an adventurous story with Tom striding up a snowy peak, pick in hand, whales behind, a hot air balloon in the sky alongside of a rescue helicopter! Although some pages have the simplistic feel of a toddler's picture book the language is actually quite mature, and the mixture of the large page spreads along with smaller panel illustrations mixes things up making it feel like both a picture book for little ones and an early graphic novel for those starting to read for themselves.

All the illustrations are great - colourful and lively. I particularly like the one of Tom bumping into the polar bear as they're both mirroring each others' poses, one roaring angrily, the other screaming with terror! They have a lovely crisp, contemporary feel to them with lots of movement and humour.

I read the book with my five year old daughter and she really enjoyed it and has asked for repeat readings since that first time. One particularly popular page is an image of Tom setting off on his journey with his backpack and a list, with pictures, of everything he's taking with him. You can spend quite some time itemising everything and talking about what flares are for! Tom's voyage goes from a boat to a hot air balloon to a parachute to a rather dangerous slide down the mountain. We see him facing creatures such as a walrus and a polar bear. He jumps across broken ice, builds himself an igloo, fishes through a hole in the ice, before finally finding his father who had broken his foot. It's lucky he packed the flares since one is spotted by a rescue helicopter and so Tom and his father get home safely.

The pacing in the story is well done, and you turn each page wondering what on earth Tom will be doing next! I enjoyed all the different things my daughter and I got to talk about through the story such as icebergs and problems they can cause boats, the Northern Lights and building an igloo! There's definite food for the imagination in this story, and it works wonderfully well for girls or boys and either as a story to read aloud or one for older children to enjoy by themselves.

If you haven't yet read his first book then do take a look at The Lonely Beast.

Buy The Great Explorer by Chris Judge at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Great Explorer by Chris Judge at

Buy The Great Explorer by Chris Judge at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Great Explorer by Chris Judge at


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