Published by: Akashic Books
Imprint: Black Sheep
40 Pages, 10.00 x 8.00 in, full-color illustrations throughout
- Published: September 2021
In this wordless story, an ordinary day at the beach transforms into an unforgettable adventure.
"Many children have wondered what it might be like to be minuscule, and this wordless adventure is accessible even to a quite young beachgoer . . . An imaginative journey."
"This book has outstanding creatures like colorful birds, fascinating insects and berries with faces. If you like vibrant pictures and interesting adventures, then this is the book for you!"
—New Mexico Kids!, recommended by Ava D., age 9
"A knockout. Samworth's wordless tale twists and turns like the best of suspense films. An everyday beach trip takes a turn when a pair of adventuring kids lead the way into an inverted realm, where plants and bugs lord over them. This book is a feat of illustration, a carnival of color, a mash-up of dreams and reality. I slammed my fist with how good the end was."
—Lulu Miller, author of Why Fish Don’t Exist
"Grand Isle creates a breathtaking world of fantasy using the everyday world around us. It's an adventure of the imagination."
—Johnny Marciano, coauthor of Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat
"This is a story that's discovered rather than told. I wish I could ride in such an extraordinary vessel. It transported me to a magical, colorful world of possible impossibilities."
—Nikki McClure, author/illustrator of Mama, Is It Summer Yet?
When two sisters wander the shore on their family beach outing in search of seashells, smooth pebbles, and other sandy treasures, they discover a gigantic seed pod large enough to hold them afloat. Unable to resist, they climb aboard, and before they know it are swept across the ocean to a mysterious island populated by marvelous vegetation and outsized insects. As they explore, their vessel is carried back out to sea, and they are stranded on the grand isle. Curiosity has led them far from home and only an act of daring and resourcefulness will bring them back.
This wordless adventure leads the audience through a richly imagined land packed with spectacular flowers and foliage well suited to Willy Wonka's botanical garden. Samworth combines the natural with the surreal in harmonious colors to create a landscape that promises new discoveries on each visit.
Critical praise for Aviary Wonders Inc. by Kate Samworth:
Written and illustrated in the style of traditional mail-order inventories, this weaves in a surprising amount of genuine bird information while displaying the variety of interchangeable parts . . . For children and their bird-watching parents, who will appreciate the clever premise and the message of admiration."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Some children may love the pictures and relish the silliness of the project without feeling the pangs of anticipatory nostalgia too deeply; others may find Aviary Wonders Inc. an uncomfortably guilty pleasure."
—New York Times Book Review
"Unsettling and unforgettable . . . Samworth's bracing irony will stimulate discussion among conservationists." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This is an original, somewhat disturbing, and wholeheartedly bizarre (but in a good way!) picture book for older children . . . An impressive picture book debut."
—Booklist (starred review)
"This futuristic mail-order catalog offers hand-crafted parts for ambitious do-it-yourselfers who want to assemble a customized bird . . . The ecological subtext will resonate with some environmentally concerned children and adults who hope such a catalog will not become a necessary reality." —School Library Journal
"This is as cleverly executed as it is edifying . . . The gilding-the-lily exaggeration of birds' natural beauty is satire at its child-appropriate best, and the subtle digs at our perennial efforts to domesticate animals for our pleasure won't be lost on young readers."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"A book whose exquisitely beautiful surface shimmers above an achingly sad subtext."
"At its heart the book is a warning about habitat destruction, but mostly, it will make you laugh, and children with a sense of whimsy will be delighted to imagine building a bird."
—NPR's Weekend All Things Considered
Samworth's bold brushstrokes and saturated colors belie a disquieting starkness. . . Within this colorful children's book beats a satiric heart; marketing lingo, consumer culture, and the commodification of nature all come under scrutiny."