For Me?

Harmen van Straaten, Author, MaryChris Bradley, Translator , trans. by MaryChris Bradley. NorthSouth $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7358-2163-7

Dutch author/artist van Straaten reprises his quartet of marvelously grumpy characters from Duck's Tale , with mixed results. Someone has left a red rose and an unsigned red heart at the houses of Duck, Toad, Otter and Hedgehog, and it's causing all kinds of trouble. Toad feels prompted to let one of the friends down easy (“I like you, Otter, but...”) while Hedgehog believes that he's the favored one, because “I got the biggest rose.” When it turns out that the giver is a shy, small Mole who's new to the neighborhood, “not very good with words” and eager to make friends, all the breaches are healed. Some of the dialogue goes on much longer than necessary, and the ending seems to wander off into the sunset. But van Straaten's characters are so vividly imagined and drawn—his sophisticated ink line seems to have an entire emotional vocabulary unto itself—that it's a pleasure to spend time in their company. Ages 3-up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 01/21/2008
Release date: 01/01/2008
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