Thursday, September 13, 2012

Book #257: The Adventures of Polo by Régis Faller

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Follow Polo, a small dog with dotted eyes and u-shaped eyebrows, on his adventures all over the world and into outer space, too! In wordless panels, Polo travels from one landscape to the next his trusty back pack of supplies in tow. From the calm waters of the ocean to a fiery volcano covered island, from icebergs to the surface of the Moon. No matter what happens to him, Polo finds a solution to every obstacle and friends around every corner.

Originally published in France, this cinematic book needs no translation to be appreciated and enjoyed by readers of all ages. All the explanation a reader needs can be found in the panels, of various sizes, that illustrate Polo’s episodic adventures. In a way, this could be considered a graphic novel in picture book form (or maybe a picture book in graphic novel form?). Polo is not only a resourceful protagonist, he’s also playful and curious with an ever present sense of humor. The illustrations are full of blue skies and oceans, fluffy white clouds, and intriguing traveling machines. Faller’s cartoon style and clean line work is bold and whimsical. Although Polo runs into obstacles along his journey, nothing is too scary or too big to overcome.

The episodic nature of this book makes it easy to split up into sections to read over multiple days/storytimes. You can also have kids take turns narrating the story, page by page or panel by panel.

You could easily use this book as part of a transportation themed storytime because Polo travels in so many types of vehicles: boats, submarines, flying machines, hot air balloons, spherical spacecraft, etc. Try pairing it with books like To the Beach and How Will We Get to the Beach.

Have kids write and illustrate their own wordless adventures starring Polo or even themselves. You can challenge upper elementary school aged kids by telling them what supplies they have in their back pack or what kind of transportation they start out traveling on.

Print out these two pages to cut and paste a boat, just like Polo’s. The website is in French, so look for the link that says, “C’est par ici” to download the printables.

Fallon has created a wonderful interactive adventure/book/game on his website. Look for the arrows to navigate throughout Polo’s world. You can also click on certain elements to see more. Read more about Polo’s adventures in subsequent books.


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