A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse
A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse
By Frank Viva. Published by Toon Books.
Hardcover, 32 pages, Colour, 2012
There’s so much to see at the bottom of the world! Join a young explorer and his best friend, Mouse, on a sea journey to Antarctica, where they make new friends with penguins and a whale – and have all kinds of fun.
Young readers won’t stop grinning as they’re swept away by the strange and magical world created by Frank Viva, the bestselling author of Along a Long Road. As kids TOON into Reading, they will want to circle back to the beginning – again and again.
Frank Viva started out as an illustrator working for places like Time, Esquire, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. He later began a second career as a graphic designer and now runs a design company in Toronto, Canada. When asked – and sometimes when not – he will lecture about typography, design and things like that. He is a cover artist for The New Yorker magazine and sits on two college advisory boards. Published by Little, Brown, his first picture book, Along a Long Road, was recognized as one of The New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books of 2011.
“A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse is a modern-day rendition of the “Are we there yet?” story. A mouse and a boy travel by boat to Antarctica, all the while seeing fun and interesting things. Alas, Mouse just wants to get there, and then, once there, wants to go back home. The story is told in graphic novel format through speech bubbles and gorgeous illustration. While a fun read for children of all ages, the writing works perfectly for children just beginning their adventure as readers. There are plenty of decodable words, many sight words and lots of opportunity for the pictures to help out when the words are unfamiliar. There is a limited amount of text on each page and the font chosen is big and clear. A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse is the perfect trip to take with a new reader. Enjoy!"
--2012 Cybils Awards
“From the endpapers, Mouse asks the timeless question of many young travelers, 'Are we there yet?' Inspired by Viva’s experiences traveling to Antarctica aboard a Russian research ship, the oblong picture book offers basic facts about the region (it is cold and penguins live there, for instance), while Mouse tries to figure out when it will finally be time to go home. Viva’s illustrations employ only primary colors, white, black, and gray, but in the best way. Every bit of space is used to tell the story, which is perfectly suited for storytimes, reading aloud, or even reader’s theater. The text is simple enough for fairly new readers to tackle, and interesting. Picture clues are used to help with some of the vocabulary words. This book begs to be shared again and again. Pair it with one of Mo Willems’s 'Elephant & Piggie' books (Hyperion) and bring on the giggles. Outstanding.
--School Library Journal
“This charming voyage tale is based on Viva’s (Along a Long Road) real-life Antarctic trip, which explains the otherwise unbelievable image of swimming in warm water at the bottom of the world. The distinctive color palette of slate blue–gray, black, cream, and burnt orange provides an otherworldly but extremely attractive vision. The simple story, full of imagination, is punctuated by Mouse’s lists of things that can’t be done on a boat in choppy waters (including draw!) or what to wear in the cold. Readers’ creativity will be spurred by the recurring list structure, allowing them to envision their own additions. Although drawn in minimal style (evoking Viva’s career as a cover artist, creating single, eye-catching images), with a flat, cut-paper feel to the art, beautiful vistas are conjured, especially of the small boat under an open starry sky. The penguins—four different types—are standouts. Like many children, Mouse spends much of his time wanting to go home, until he leaves, then he wants to go back. Readers will, too, again and again.”
“Viva utilizes basic shapes in a way that reminds me of Eric Carle and I really love his use of primary colors. In short, it’s a really lovely children’s book. If you’re shopping for a preschooler at all this holiday season I’d recommend this book in a second.”
“Viva’s debut, Along a Long Road, was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2011, and he brings that same visual audacity and forward momentum to his first early reader. Told in full spreads and comic-book-style panels, the story of a boy in a bat T-shirt and his mouse takes readers aboard a small boat headed to Antarctica. The mouse is initially reluctant, but the boy eventually wins him over with a swim in a wondrous volcanic lagoon. What child wouldn’t be on board for that?”
--The New York Times
“Viva has a knack for segueing irresistibly from one page to the next, and his various illustrated lists—’boots,’ ‘mittens,’ ‘a hat,’ and ‘a scarf’ when they’re dressing; ‘jump,’ ‘bump,’ ‘play,’ and ‘dive’ while whale watching—provide useful words for neophyte readers. His illustrations define characters with a few simple but personality-packed lines and create environments out of swooping, nearly abstract shapes that, though easily recognizable as narrative elements, retain the comfort of a preschooler’s geometric-pattern books. Young children will also identify with the protagonist as he pines first for the destination and then for home, never quite satisfied with what’s on hand, a problem that Viva’s readers will not share.”
“In the midst of adventure (‘Look at the big sky!…Look! What is that? It’s a whale!’), the small creature—seasick, cold, and wet—repeatedly asks: ‘Can we go home now?’ New readers will grab onto that pattern like a life preserver and enjoy the humor in Mouse’s wild ride. Viva’s thoughtful comic-panel design includes quarter-page frames for quick patter and full pages for the man to patiently explain, ‘Not yet, Mouse.’ The short, funny questions and answers will help new readers build confidence with each page turn. Color and design, rather than detailed pictures, set the scene, with strong shapes and a limited palette, including icy blue, subdued red, and off-white. By the final endpapers, readers will be gratified to discover that Mouse has come full circle: ‘Can we go back there soon?’ Children will want to go back soon, too.”
--The Horn Book
“They started tossing out terms like ‘retro-aesthetic’ and ‘full bleed pages’ but all I know is it looks purdy.”
“Viva has fashioned a simple tale strong on the visuals, which are rendered with clear lines and a flat-out glorious colour palette. Also, Mouse’s familiar, wary approach to a lengthy journey might help endear him to little readers.”
“I love the flat illustrations and the lovely colors — golden yellow, autumn russet, slate grey, and Wedgewood blue — Viva uses. It’s the kind of book that, as soon as I finished it, I started it again, just to enjoy the clarity of the simple images.”
--Comics Worth Reading
“Viva sets up a series of lists for young readers, which provide a pleasing rhythm to the book and opportunity for predictions, in which new readers actively engage, whether they realize it or not.”
--Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
“Expect young readers to request this read aloud often.”
--Literary Kids Book Reviews
“Beautiful, simple, yet epic in scale, full of joy, full of the familiar along with the incredible. Loved it.”
--Forbidden Planet International
“Clear, cool, and beautiful, it belongs on your bookshelf even if you’re considerably older than four.”
“A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse was right up my kindergartener’s alley. In fact, he read this book to me (with slight coaching). Pair that with the fact it’s a new book by designer Frank Viva (Along a Long Road). What more could a parent ask for.”
“[A] stunning little book.”
--Jean Little Library
“A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse is enchanting…I’m a Viva fan now, and once you look at this book, you’ll be too.”
--Read About Comics
“A confluence of basic shapes and colors that pop off the page.”
“It’s the illustrations that really set this out as a ‘oh but it is so much more than a book’ sort of book.”
--It’s Nice That
“Viva’s lovely little book says that it’s okay to experience the world with some trepidation and desire for the familiar, as long as you’re experiencing it.”
“I love this book.”
“Frank Viva’s artwork here is fantastic. The Antarctic night, the animals, the cold – all brought to life in a cartoony storybook way. It is wonderful stuff.”
--Comics in the Classroom
“Strong graphic illustrations give this quick visit to the Antarctic plenty of appeal.”
“A Trip to the Bottom of the World (with Mouse) is a beautifully illustrated book…I really wanted to frame some of the pages.”
--The Bluestocking Society
“This is a fun book. My littlest one really enjoys the different penguins, and this is currently on his list of nightly reads. The artwork is very inviting and the story, while a quick read, is one that kids will demand to read again and again.”
--The Graphic Novel Reader
“As a special education teacher, I like pictures that are simple and clear… The lists on every other page give kids a chance to seek-and-find and can encourage their one-to-one correspondence.”
--Nova McCool, Amazon.com
"It’s a sweet tale that’s structured perfectly to teach sight words and animal names, not to mention the value of a little patience."
"With it's vivid and modern art work and comic-style format, my son loves it and it also has simple phrases that he reads as we enjoy the book together."
--Happy Kids Inc.