""Once there was a mud puddle,"" writes Sierra (Antarctic Antics), ""and it was sleepy, it was creepy, it was deeper-than-you'd-think. When something went into that mud puddle, the mud puddle didn't want to let go."" Hillenbrand (previously paired with Sierra for Counting Crocodiles) portrays the maniacal mud puddle as a grubby Jabba the Hut. Five different vehicles become stuck in the muck, but fear not: the artwork's comical pacing and perspective reveal the vehicles to be toys, and a nearby brave band of animal preschoolers comes to the rescue, outfitted in rain slickers and carrying ""shovels and sand, and rocks and bricks, and rubber bands and Popsicle sticks."" Gradually, the rain lets up and the sun pokes out. The soft prettiness of Hillenbrand's full-bleed watercolor-and-ink illustrations provides a soothing counterpoint to the menacing mud puddle and to the action's comic frenzy. Youngsters will instantly recognize their own voices, experiences and indefatigable energy in Sierra's narrative. What's more, they should also find the conclusion deeply satisfying: in a feast of unbridled mud-food making, the heroic preschoolers completely consume the rogue puddle. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2001 Release date: 04/01/2001 Genre: Children's
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