FICTION

Viewfinder

Tundra. Feb. 2024. 144p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780735268753.
COPY ISBN
K-Gr 4–This wordless graphic novel takes readers on a poignant journey as a young space explorer lands on Earth and discovers what’s left of a once thriving community after a catastrophic environmental event. With wonder and curiosity, the extraterrestrial child uncovers a stereoscopic viewfinder filled with pictures of a vibrant but long-gone society. Roaming through empty and crumbling landmarks, the protagonist pieces together the town’s past through sepia-tone photographs taken by the viewfinder’s original owner, who was clearly a child much like themself. As luminous, expressive illustrations take the explorer from one curiosity to another, readers are invited to ponder how our world might appear to an outsider, and consider the stories told by our buildings and treasured objects. While the narrative is imbued with a sense of loss, the softly rounded artwork rendered in pastel hues casts an optimistic tone. The story concludes on a hopeful note that affirms the importance of connection and resilience as the space explorer wraps up their mission and returns to their family.
VERDICT Striking a balance between whimsical adventure and wistful contemplation, this title underscores the beauty and fragility of life on our planet. A first purchase for youth graphic novel collections.

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