From the Bookshelf: Frank Viva inspires mapping
February 15, 2014

Judy Cuthbertson
A book, a map or both?

Frank Viva is an author/illustrator, and graphic designer whose works have appeared on the covers of The New Yorker and the New York Times.  His book, Along A Long Road, is his first children’s picture book.  For all mapping enthusiasts and for teachers who explored mapping concepts in Seedlings workshops, this is a book that works well with a variety of ages.  Youngest children enjoy touching the satin feel of the orange road that carries the cyclist over hills, through tunnels, over a bridge and along a long road.  Using only five colors, Viva successfully illustrates locational words (up, down, into, out) as well as action phrases  describing movement (going fast, hitting a bump, gaining speed).

For older children, this book captures the excitement of simple journeys to familiar places.  Readers (and pre-readers) are made to feel the movement of the cyclist as he dips, climbs, stretches, glides, bounces, stops and speeds along the way only to reach the end and begin again.   This book is wonderful for building vocabulary, and will hopefully inspire children to create their own journey maps.  A book, a map or both?  You decide.