Robinson

"My friends and I love adventure. We play pirates all the time. Together, we rule the high seas! So when the school costume party is announced, of course we know we will go as pirates."

Peter's mom has a different idea: "Why don't you go as Robinson Crusoe?" she says; he's "the hero of your favorite story." Recognizing this as truth, Peter agrees and eagerly watches her pull together a stunning Robinson Crusoe ensemble, complete with scruffy facial hair. Sís, the first-person child narrator, dons his costume: "On the walk to school, I am bursting with excitement. What will my friends say? I can't wait for them to see me!"

But when Peter arrives at school, his friends, all dressed in similar pirate costumes, "laugh and tease" him. Feeling small and embarrassed, his mother agrees to bring him home where he feels ill: "My head swims. I toss and turn. I feel lost. I am drifting." And he is drifting. Or, at least, the double-page spread shows his bed slowly morphing into a ship that is "cast upon an island."

Sís's illustrations play with tone, format and perspective, moving young Peter from cooler-toned, bordered illustrations in the graphic novel-like "real world" to the full-page spreads of deep blue ocean and glorious green plant life in his imagined safe harbor. Any reader will be able to sympathize with young Peter's experience--who hasn't felt conspicuous and uncomfortable? But the beauty of the work lies in finding comfort in the limitless possibilities of imagination and people excited to share those fantasies with you. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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