Dance your cares away; worry’s for another day! Well, not so much in Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring, Kate Leth and Jake Myler’s contribution to the Jim Henson franchise. In this adventure, we find our friends the Fraggles and Doozers in a suddenly dry town. Red hits her head diving into the empty swimming hole. Boober can’t finish his laundry. All of Fraggle Rock has come to a halt.Turns out the secret may lie in the Everspring and it’s up to the Fraggles to explore and fix the problem. After getting some directions from the Doozers, the Fraggles are off on an adventure.
Admittedly, my one connection to the world of Fraggle Rock was Allister’s 1999 cover of the theme song. However, if the previous stories were anything like this addition, then I’m sure I would’ve been a fan of the original. Our story follows dreamer Gobo, an inventor whose far-out ideas aren’t well received by his fellow Fraggle and Doozer pals. But he wants to find purpose one way or another. When the town goes dry, Gobo and fellow Fraggles Mokey, Wembley, Boober, and Red travel to the fabled Everspring. Along the way, the adventure to save the town comes to include lessons about meeting new people, conquering your fears, and taking care of the Earth.
The aspect of the story that I found most interesting concerned Gobo’s failures to invent something that his pals deem useful. I imagine kids will enjoy the book at the base level, as an adventure story where friendship and teamwork save the day. But Gobo’s range of complex emotions—including self-doubt and questioning—make this book more engaging on a deeper level. Leth does a wonderful job of writing little moments where Gobo’s insecurities pop up, and Myler really interprets the more subtle emotions quite well in his artwork. It’s easy to forget that kids can also doubt themselves and wonder where it is they fit in the world. That is precisely what we get to witness in Gobo as he navigates to the Everspring with the rest of the gang. What he sees as continued failures are just steps to his self-discovery, eventually realizing he is a natural leader and that’s how he has helped his pals this whole time. More than one kid will gravitate to that, recognizing a little bit of their own insecurity on the page even if they don’t know what to call it.
There are a few word games and puzzles in the back of the book, so in a library these will likely be scribbled in by a kid who can’t resist.
Overall, it’s a fun book with some great lessons, both global and personal, and may help a few kids realize it’s OK to be unsure of who you are right now. We’re all trying to find out how we fit in the grand scheme of things, just like Gobo. As long as we have our pals helping us take on the challenges we face, we will eventually figure it out.
Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring
by Kate Leth
Art by Jake Myler
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12