Hopper and Wilson

Maria van Lieshout. Philomel, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-25184-9
Hopper, a stuffed blue elephant, and his chum Wilson, a yellow mouse, set off in a newspaper boat in search of the end of the world. Hopper goes overboard in a storm, though, and Wilson has to canvass some sea turtles ("I lost my friend Hopper. Have you seen him by chance?"), a penguin ("He's a big guy. Funny ears"), and a "giant fish" (it's a whale) before he and Hopper are reunited. Instead of finding the end of the world and fulfilling their wishes (Wilson wanted lots of lemonade; Hopper wanted to touch the moon), they arrive back at home, tired but satisfied. Van Lieshout (Bloom!), a gifted illustrator, plays up the suspense of the separation with lots of space in the spreads and long waits; even when Wilson receives a clue that Hopper is nearby (the string from his friend's red balloon), Hopper doesn't appear for another two pages. While the underlying message is cautious—Hopper and Wilson's friendship and safety are more important than their dreams—van Lieshout's story is filled with adventure, emotion, and imagery that supplies lots of effervescent warmth. Ages 3–5. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
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