cover image Hopper and Wilson

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%E2%80%94Hopper and Wilson's friendship and safety are more important than their dreams%E2%80%94van Lieshout's story is filled with adventure, emotion, and imagery that supplies lots of effervescent warmth. Ages 3%E2%80%935. (July)