________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 38 . . . . June 5, 2015


A Ticket Around the World.

Natalia Diaz & Melissa Owens. Illustrated by Kim Smith.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-051-3.

Subject Headings:
Culture-Juvenile literature.
Voyages and travel-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

**** /4



Costa Rica is a small country in Central America with over 4.5 million people. It's famous for its tropical rain forests, active volcanoes, and misty cloud forests. Howler monkeys, iguanas, and sea turtles are just some of the amazing wildlife that live here.

Alberto is a tico, a nickname Costa Rican boys and men give themselves. Girls and women are known as ticas. Most ticos and ticas speak Spanish, but some groups still speak indigenous, or native, languages.

Follow the young male traveller as he journeys around the world to 13 different countries. His reasons for travelling are friendship and learning. The book begins with a labelled map which shows his route: Canada, United States, Costa Rica, Brazil, France, Morocco, Greece, Jordan, India, Botswana, Australia, Philippines, and China. The following pages consist of two-page spreads about each country. The background is an outline of the country labelled with the capital and a few cities. The flag is shown. Labelled animals and tourist attractions dot each map.

      The traveller introduces readers to his host family and explains how they live. He describes the meals, the language, and how they spend their time. Additional facts about weather appear in circular sidebars. Whether the boy is talking about population figures or saying hello in the native language (with no pronunciation guide), facts are incorporated into the page seamlessly, like a conversation between friends (but with no dialogue). On his trip to Canada, the boy and his friend Cara, from Ontario, travel to the Bay of Fundy, "a long ocean bay with the highest tides in the whole world". They eat tourtière at Cara's home (where she speaks English and French with her mom and brother) and visit a local farmers' market on the weekend. On July 1, they celebrate Canada Day on Parliament Hill. In addition to providing information about Canada's Aboriginal population, the author includes information about Banff National Park and the animals that live there.

      After the boy's trip to Jordan, where he has tea with a Bedouin tribe in the desert and joins a class field trip to an ancient Roman Theatre in Amman, he asks the reader 13 questions about the countries in the book (i.e. In Brazil, what famous river did Fernanda and I canoe down?) I think the activities and foods included in the book will appeal to children. In the United States, he eats guacamole on his hamburger and watches a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. In Australia, he swims at the Great Barrier Reef, and, in the Philippines, he eats a snow cone from an outdoor market (but he later eats stewed chicken and vegetables served with rice). The italicized words on each page are defined within the sentences. (In the morning, Haneen and I ate thick yogurt called labneh. I dipped bread into the labneh and then into a spicy mixture called za'atar.)

      I would give this book to children (or families) who enjoy geography or travelling.

Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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