The Adventures of David and Kringer in Germany
by Eddie R. Johnson, Jr.
BookVenture Publishing LLC

"'Germany is great, Kringer. The food, the people, sights...There is one place I want you to see.'"

If it's not fried, sugar-coated, or rendered in bright neon colors with repetitive catchphrases, kids often have no use for it. Geography and maps are too boring, and the big question about foreign travel is this: Do they have chicken nuggets? So how do you spark interest in something as abstract as the world from self-involved little people who lack the context to understand anything outside the toy-filled room in which they are sitting?

The author has some ideas on this front and has found a creative way to spark kids’ interest in other countries. In Johnson's newest entry in the series, David and Kringer—a boy and his Siberian Husky dog—dialogue about sites and points of reference as they fly into Germany and then Spain. Rather than lecturing about the country's history or place in the world (which is about as useful to a child as explaining Shakespeare with references to Homer), the book allows a warm conversation between two friends and well-matched travel partners lead the tour.

David and Kringer travel well together. Like the best-matched touring partners, their differences combine for a perfect complement, with methodical researcher Kringer reading up on each detail of the nation and sites they will see, while the more sensitive and reactive David goes by how he feels and what appeals to his senses. There is great value in traveling with a trusted companion whose strengths and interests contrast with one’s own, and the ease between these two travel partners models well for young readers.

Perhaps a story such as this can spark a curiosity and taste for travel that can propel a youngster to become an eager citizen and visitor of the world for a lifetime. For an adventurous young spirit or even a homebody, the idea of independent plane travel and exposure to locations famous, exotic, and whimsical can hold tremendous appeal. After all, if David and Kringer can fly all over the world, maybe the reader can too. The book’s inviting Illustrations help make the case for travel. In warm colors with soft edges, famous sites and products have an inviting appearance well suited to a child’s tentative but easily charmed eye. Even the airport, usually a steely impersonal metropolis in its most starkly accurate renderings, appears here with such soft edges that the reality of its power is conveyed without intimidation or overwhelming force. David and Kringer themselves smile out from the pages, united in affectionate touch and happy with the sorts of kind, animated faces children like to see.

Finally, what kid doesn’t enjoy a talking, reading dog? Anthropomorphism, especially for dogs, never ceases to draw young audiences. Tune in to kid programming any time of any day, and a dog is solving crime and partnering with its beloved humans, full of articulate language and inspiring observations about canine life and the people who enrich it. It was, perhaps, only a matter of time before such a humanized dog took to the air with its person, eager to learn about other cultures and see the sites as a kid’s best friend. 

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