Uh-Oh Dodo!

Jennifer Sattler, Author, Jennifer Sattler, Illustrator
Jennifer Sattler. Boyds Mills, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59078-929-2
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A well-intentioned, mishap-prone dodo bird follows his mother on a walk to a surprise destination in Sattler’s slight offering. Dodo is every bit the enthusiastic and easily distracted toddler: preoccupied with admiring his “talented” toes, he walks right into his mother; singing loudly “for everyone to enjoy,” he’s shushed by a bird nesting with her chicks; and Dodo is sprayed by a skunk while attempting to make a new friend. With each of Dodo’s minor calamities, the title’s lament is repeated, giving the narrative a singsong lilt. As Sattler has demonstrated in her previous books, she’s very good at facial expressions and body language—Dodo is overconfident, abashed, despairing, and reassured, while a grasshopper sidekick overreacts dramatically to each of Dodo’s missteps. But while the messages that it’s okay to make mistakes and that “Mama is always close by” are evergreen, Sattler’s illustrations feel less polished than her work in books like Sylvie or Chick ‘n’ Pug, and the story is overly reliant on repetition to hold readers’ interest. Ages 2–5. Agent: Anna Olswanger, Liza Dawson Associates. (Apr.)
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