Get your little ones ready for a wild ride with a new picture book that features a story that can be read forward or backward! Frank Viva’s A Long Way Away goes from the reaches of outer space to the deep, dark sea, with an adorable creature taking this trip both ways, depending on the direction of the book!
Following the idea of “reverse poetry,” the text of this picture book can be read from front cover to back, or in reverse, telling a different story in each direction. Viva’s illustrations are bright, with a yellow line tracking the mysterious outer space creature’s path of travel, and even young readers will be reminded of Viva’s previous book Along a Long Road, which wowed me in 2011 and was among the many Cybils Awards nominees that I adored (linked to my mini-review).
With this book, Viva gives children the ability to choose the direction of the creature’s travels. As you hold the book oriented with the pages flipping up rather than side-to-side, the simple text on each two-page spread supports the story in both directions. My prediction is that many children will enjoy sending the creature away from home in one direction, and then returning him back to the warm embrace of his parents on the return trip.
I can’t help but share the notes from the back of the book that describes the manner in which Viva created the illustrations. “A Long Way Away was created as a single, continuous twenty-six-foot-long piece of art using Adobe Illustrator.” I love this! Frank Viva’s books stand out among the crowded shelves of children’s books, and A Long Way Away is one that will give children a different type of reading experience- in two directions!
Dawn’s picture book obsession benefits her younger children quite well, and by the time they’re ready to move out, she’ll be able to easily fill an empty bedroom with nothing but books. She blogs intermittently at my thoughts exactly.