Messenger, Norman. 2012. THE LAND OF EVERBELIEVE. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763660215 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-12]
This whimsical picture book blends scientific discovery with a tropical fantasy setting. Norman Messenger acts as both author and travel guide as he carefully documents the amazing assortment of inhabitants, wildlife, and geography on this mysterious island. Since the island of Neverbelieve has the curious tendency to sprout legs and move suddenly, Messenger is the first explorer to catalog and illustrate the island’s features.
Presented as a series of old-fashioned plates, this travel book begins with a large map of the island and dedicates a full page spread to each region. Potential visitors are encouraged to mingle with the friendly locals, enjoy bedtime stories at the foot of Book Mountain, and collect the strangely beautiful flora and mysteriously rearranging shells. However, tourists are also cautioned to stay away from the grasping Tree of Horrible Hands and the terrifying Bat-Faced Ravens that inhabit the Spooky Dark Mountains. Messenger’s muted watercolor and color pencil drawings capture the bizarre beauty of Neverbelieve Island and his numerous insider captions will delight young explorers eager for adventure on the high seas.
This beautiful picture book would be a great example when discussing the importance of setting in writing, especially in fantasy stories. The elaborate illustrations and captions would enhance a lesson about descriptive writing.
Other books for children and teens featuring fantastic, imaginary settings:
Fleischman, Paul. WESLANDIA. ISBN 9780756965662
McLerran, Alice. ROXABOXEN. ISBN 9780060526337
Paterson, Katherine. BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. ISBN 9780061227288
By Kimberly C. Kinnaird