Where should we begin? In outer space among the planets and stars or in the depths of the ocean where the sea creatures look like aliens?
A Long Way Away by Frank Viva is a clever book that puts a new spin on format. Instead of opening the book horizontally as you would normally, this one opens vertically. Furthermore, you can decide which end of the book to begin the story from – start in space and follow a kooky creature’s journey as he floats down and away from his home planet, past the moon, into Earth’s atmosphere, splashing down through the ocean’s surface and finally to the bottom of the sea, where he has a much-needed rest – “Deep asleep”
Or begin the journey in the depths of the ocean, floating up through the undersea world, rising to the surface and floating into the sky until at last the creature arrives home on a distant planet.
“A home A hug.”
The concept is simple but perfectly executed with minimal, floating text (that can be read both ways); the clever format; and striking illustrations of creatures and worlds both real and imagined.
“A boot, a bite. A left, a right.”
Kids will enjoy deciding where to begin this wonderful book but I suspect that they will also take over ‘reading’. Viva’s sparse text provides rhythm but there is lots more to be told by looking at the fantastic illustrations.
A Long Way Away is suitable for children aged three years and over. It’s available from Book Depository which delivers free-of-charge to Australia.