I am heading off today for a week’s worth of camping in Algonquin Park. Algonquin is about 3 hours north of Toronto, and it is one of the most beautiful outdoor places I’ve been. We try to get there every summer, for a little paddling, some s’more action, and star-gazing. So far, I haven’t seen a moose. This feels wrong. Every trip we’ve been on, we make sure to go out for many near-silent, misty canoe trips early in the morning and again around twilight, when it is said that moose are most likely to be chowing down on marsh grass. But no moose has been seen. Yet. Last time we saw a beaver. That was Canadian. But not as Canadian as it would be to see a moose. Maybe this year.
So far, I have had to be content with mere photos of moose. Or cartoons. Cartoons work. This leads me to Nicholas Oldland’s picture book, Making the Moose Out of Life. Before starting to write/illustrate books for kids, Oldland worked as the designer for his family’s clothing company, Hatley. I like the understated humour in the illustrations here, and the clean design helps to highlight what’s funny on every page. It’s not busy, and a little reminiscent of Scaredy Squirrel in theme and tone (though not as funny). The story is a bit message-y and direct for my taste (don’t just sit around – get out there and enjoy life! ), but I don’t think kids will object because Moose is rather endearing. And there is a tortoise named Tuesday. Automatic bonus points for excellent naming of tortoise! This is the sort of book that would work well as a gift for someone embarking on an adventure, a new job, or a big change of some sort. Oldland has also written Big Bear Hug, perfect for tree-huggers (and campers). I expect to see it at the outfitters when I go to pick up my canoe today.
Making the Moose Out of Life is published by Kids Can Press.