Freya is a Rockhopper Penguin. Rockhopper Penguins don’t travel, as Freya has been told over and over. However, with her handy copy of “Hints to Lady Travelers at Home and Abroad”, Freya lives up to the independent spirit of her namesake, and decides to be the first penguin to reach the Arctic. She stows away on a hot air balloon with three explorers who are determined to be the first to get to the North Pole using hot air balloons. Unknown to her, Zoose, an exuberant and ill-mannered mouse, has stowed away as well. The two are like oil and water, and much of the joy of the book is connected to how they deal with one another.
Freya and Zoose’s expedition is based on the real Swedish Arctic Expedition of 1897, which crashed and left survivors stranded on the polar ice cap. Faced with certain death if they don’t work together, Frey and Zoose come to an unlikely and loving friendship, confronting fear, loss, and sorrow with compassion and courage. The illustrations add to the characterization of the two, addign to our emotional connection with them. Similar to “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” , this book will make you laugh, cry, and think, and wish for it to start all over again when it’s done. Perfect for a Read Aloud!