cover image The Wainscott Weasel

The Wainscott Weasel

Tor Seidler. HarperCollins, $21.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-06-205032-8

The author and illustrator who collaborated on A Rat's Tale here present an equally imaginative story featuring the animal residents of Wainscott, a town on the South Fork of Long Island. At the plot's center is Bagley Brown Jr., whose late father became a hero among the local weasel population after he constructed a tunnel through which eggs could be easily pilfered from a farmer's chicken coop. Although the other weasels enjoy dancing to the music of the birds, the thoughtful Bagley prefers spending time at the pond with Bridget, a striped bass who has captured his heart. It is for Bridget that Bagley risks his life in a gesture worthy of his father: he climbs atop a telephone pole to remove the nest of an osprey who is menacing the fish in his beloved's pond. Seidler's pacing is superb; he builds a solid structure within each chapter. A dry wit inspires his characterizations, which are original and at the same time respectful of animals' natures. Marcellino enhances and even extends the beguiling ambiance with his exceptionally expressive art. The volume's stellar design integrates color paintings as well as black-and-white drawings, creatively sized and placed. Impressive bookmaking. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)