Adventure in the Land of Changes

Rick Poplinger, illustrated by Jose Tecson

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 56 Price: (paperback) $18.99 ISBN: 9781669850427 Reviewed: August, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

A boy turns into various fantastical creatures in the children’s picture book Adventure in the Land of Changes.

Looking for a place to play, a boy walks into a forest and soon realizes his body has changed. He morphs into a series of unusual creatures with some characteristics resembling those of actual animals and others utterly unique. After several transformations, he leaves the forest as himself, but decides to swim in a lake and the process begins again, this time with numerous water-based creatures. After leaving the lake, the boy finds himself flying, and a final series of transformations takes place in the sky before he arrives home safely.

The book is a collected trilogy, with the unnamed boy as the main character in three linked stories: “The Ever-Changing Forest,” “The Ever-Changing Water,” and The Ever-Changing Sky.” Written in verse, the stories are fun and imaginative. Reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, the creatures have crazy names like “gusnike” and “basnew,” as well as names just a bit removed from familiar ones, like “glunkey,” “grooster,” and an octopus-like being called an “octoslob.”

Each two-page spread features an image of the latest creature on the left page and the narration about the creature’s characteristics, like beards on noses, legs ending in knobs, and hot dog lips, on the right. The illustrations bring it all to life with amusing accuracy.

Sometimes, however, clunky phrasing and forced rhymes detract from the verse (“Again, I knew it was happening,/ Those adventures that were weird./ I was now up in the wide-open sky/ As a wild and strange young BWIRD!”). The syllable counts can be inconsistent, occasionally making reading aloud awkward, and the text harbors a minor error or two (e.g. “fury body” instead of “furry body”).

Still, none of this substantially undercuts readers’ enjoyment. Overall, children will find this a delightful excursion into the author’s unfettered imagination.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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