This is the first title in a new picture book series from Walker Books and it introduces the four Little Adventurers, Finnegan, Floss, Peanut and Sprat, who hold club meetings in their secret shed HQ. Today is ‘Bring a Pet Day’, but Sprat can’t find his cat Shadow anywhere. So instead he finds a leaf, draws a face on it and, behold, Leafy the pet leaf appears. Everyone wonders if a leaf can actually be a pet, but, in fact, the introduction of Leafy leads to plenty of fun and imaginative play.
This is a book with a message, Little Adventurers are required to be kind to animals, help others out, be brave, be honest and true, do his or her best and look after the planet, and a purpose, to encourage curiosity, outdoor play and green activities. The sense of worthiness is not overpowering, however, as the combination of Philip Ardagh’s words and Elissa Elwick’s lively, humorous illustrations ensure that the characters and story will appeal to young readers. There is a great deal of visual detail to grab the attention with posters, signs, speech bubbles, different fonts and a variety of page layouts. This busy presentation does fit in with the book’s aim of encouraging imagination and creativity and facts and activity ideas are included. This is an appealing story with a lively group of characters, and pets, and its usefulness to teachers and parents is an added bonus.