Spike and Ike Take a Hike

S. D. Schindler, Author, S. D. Schindler, Illustrator
S.D. Schindler. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-24495-7
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Two unlikely friends—Spike, a somewhat apprehensive hedgehog and Ike, a sure-footed coatimundi (a raccoon relative with a long snout and black and orange stripes)—take a bipedal stroll through a springtime meadow on their way to find lunch. As they go, brief phrases appear at the bottom of each spread, expanding to explore alliteration and rhyme, while inspiring speech-bubble commentary from the pair. "A "soggy bog" reveals itself to be both a "soggy buggy bog" and a "soggy froggy buggy bog" ("They are eating the bugs! Yay!" cheers Ike, grateful for a reprieve from the swarms of mosquitoes on the previous spread). In another scene, the friends meet an "itty-bitty kitty" ("Soft fur. She is pretty," says Spike), but the feline has a mean streak—she's a "itty-bitty pretty spitty kitty." Schindler's (We're Going on a Ghost Hunt) pastel-hued, finely detailed landscape allows the two amblers and the animals they meet to stay the central focus of an understated story that will help beginning readers both expand their vocabularies and draw connections between words. Ages 3–5. (Apr.)
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