cover image Help!: A Story of Friendship

Help!: A Story of Friendship

Holly Keller, Author . Greenwillow $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-123913-7

As this straightforward, genial tale begins, Hedgehog discovers Mouse covering himself with leaves, trying to hide from their friend Snake. Why? “Fox told Skunk and Skunk told me that snakes are very dangerous to mice,” Mouse explains. Although Hedgehog dismisses the news as “silly gossip,” Mouse continues to worry and, distracted, stumbles into a deep, narrow hole. For various reasons, Squirrel, Rabbit and Hedgehog cannot help their fallen friend, but trusty Snake devises a way to retrieve Mouse without scaring him. Although the story holds no surprises, the banter feels fresh. Keller's (Farfallina & Marcel ) eye-catching, highly textured illustrations, which she identifies as collographs, or printed collages, balance toy-like depictions of the characters with almost lifelike renderings of the variegated green vegetation. Encircling or framing the text, poking through white space or suddenly changing the page orientation from horizontal to vertical, the art gives this book an irresistibly insouciant spirit. Ages 3-8. (Sept .)