Book Buddie: Marco Polo Brave Explorer
Cynthia Lord, Author
Stephanie Graegin, Illustrator
Candlewick Press, Fiction, Mar. 29, 2022
Suitable for ages; 6-9
Themes: Library, Borrowing books, Repurposing toys, Friendship, Bravery
Marco Polo is a small felt mouse who used to be a Christmas ornament on Anne the Librarian’s tree. But now he’s one of the Book Buddies, toys that can be checked out just like books. Marco Polo may be small, but he’s also a brave explorer looking for adventure — if only someone would check him out of the library.
Seth is a boy who visits the library with his dad and younger brother. He wishes he could be a little more brave especially when he goes on his first sleepover. But maybe a small explorer like Marco Polo is just the kid of friend he needs.
From Newbery Honor winner Cynthia Lord and celebrated artist Stephanie Graegin, here is the second title in a heartwarming series about a group of friendly toys at the library and the children who borrow them.
Why I like this Marco Polo Brave Explorer:
Children will be captivated by Cynthia Lord’s heartwarming Book Buddies chapter book series. Marco Polo Brave Explorer is the second book, preceded by Ivy Lost and Found. It is the first series I’ve seen that pairs friendly toys with children who may need them to work through a difficult time. I love the idea that the toys are repurposed and given a chance to be loved again by more children. Such a great idea to check out a toy along with a book from a library.
The story is narrated in third person. Seth has been invited to Ben’s birthday party and sleepover and he’s not feeling very brave. What if he hears funny noises or wants to go home? He doesn’t dare take his worn rabbit. Ben may think he’s silly or childish. Seth goes to the library to pick out a book and listen to the story time. The children are invited to find a book buddy and Seth spots tiny Marco Polo, Anne the Librarian thinks Marco Polo is perfect for Seth and says that “brave explorers have big adventures.” And Marco Polo does have a big adventure when the Ben’s cat takes him off Seth’s pillow. He’ll have a big story to tell!
The short chapters will engage children, as will Graegin’s lovely pen and ink illustrations on nearly every page. I look forward to more Book Buddy adventures with new borrowers.
Cynthia Lord is the author of award-winning middle grade fiction titles such as the Newbery Honor Book Rules, and most recently Because of the Rabbit. She is also the author of Shelter Pet Squad chapter book series and the Book Buddies series. She lives in Maine.
*Review copy provided by Candlewick in exchange for a review.