'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 29 October 2021

Guest Post: Travelling the World with Tania McCartney and Plume

We all know how glorious it is to travel, but given the way of the world at the moment, well... Let's just say we're lucky we can travel through the pages of a book. And travel is what my new Plume series (Hardie Grant Explore) is all about, taking flight this week with book one - Plume: World Explorer.

Plume is a plucky Antarctic penguin who's a little bit different to all the other penguins. He loves to skydive. And cook. He's a great knitter. And he single-handedly created the largest library in the Southern Hemisphere, carved into an Antarctic glacier. It's called the Biblioteca, and Plume has oft plucked from its shelves to learn all about the world outside his icy home.


Life in Antarctica is pretty much black and white, but Plume loves colour, excitement, adventure. When Ava (of the Albatross Express), drops off her latest delivery, she tempts Plume to go on a journey... to visit new places, meet new people, enjoy exciting new experiences. To step out of the pages of a book and see the world in real life.

And when Plume finally takes flight...

...he discovers entirely new ways of life - of flavour, of culture, of sights and sites that send the heart a-gallop.

While we're unable to physically travel (hopefully soon!), we can always travel via the almighty book. We may not be able to touch the linens at a souk market, but we can feel the paper of each page before us. We may not be able to smell the croissants baking in a Parisian boulangerie, but we can imagine and even taste the butter on our tongue because words and pictures have such power. 

Does your mouth water at the mention of a just-baked croissant? We can absolutely have a physical reaction to the pages of a storybook. We can learn, we can grow, we can just have FUN.

I've always said travel is the great expander - and for children, it has the capacity to broaden their minds and widen their hearts. Experiencing the way other people live their lives, how they celebrate, what they nibble, the music they listen to, the creations they build - it's enriching. It's life-affirming. It helps melt away fear and embolden knowledge. It hones the intuition and very best of all - it's a whole lot of fun.

In book one of this picture book series, Plume visits a whole raft of countries around the world. From the icy plains of Antarctica, he soars over the Southern Ocean to New Zealand, then Australia, Japan, China, France, England, Canada, the United States, Peru and South Africa. 

Children will join him as he meets children in each country, learns some quirks about each place, then brings his experience home to his penguin friends. The question is - will the penguins be tempted by the wonderful tales Plume brings home? Will they be tempted to hitch a ride on the Albatross Express and experience the glory of new places, new cultures?

Of course, the world is vast and crammed with countless quirks and treasure - and books have limited pages - but tempting children with little peeks can spark curiosity. It can compel them to learn more, to seek detail, to dream big. To one day jump on the Albatross Express.

And, along with themes of friendship, warmth and kindness, I'm hoping your children find comfort and joy in Plume and his world travels.

If you or your kids would like to join Plume on his world tours, take a photo of yourself with the book - in front of something special that might represent your country, city or town. Hashtag the image with #plumethepenguin and #whereintheworldisplume. I would love to see what you post!

See more on the book here - www.taniamccartney.com.

P.S. Kids - can you guess the following countries?