cover image Mokie & Bik

Mokie & Bik

Wendy Orr, , illus. by Jonathan Bean. . Holt, $15.95 (72pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7979-1

Orr’s (Ark in the Park ) energetic if uneven tale introduces Mokie and Bik, feisty twins who live on a boat, where they are “always overboard and underfoot” and constantly “yabber jabber yackety gabber” in a dialect that only their nanny can understand. Their mother, a painter, is often “Arting” in the wheelhouse or riding her “botormike” and their captain father is off “illy-ally-o-ing” on his “ship-at-sea with clouds of sails.” Though the narrative provides definitions for some of the twins’ jargon, readers must decipher most of their jabbering, which kids may find off-putting. In passages filled with wordplay that ranges from witty to inane, the author chronicles the youngsters’ harbor-side adventures. Mokie and Bik help a fisherman unload his catch of “fisk,” after which they come home smelling like “icky sticky fisky bits” and their nanny “rub-a-dub-dubbed” them clean. Bik rescues Mokie by rowboat when his sister falls in the water while she “scotch-hopped” on the wharf. The fisherman ties ropes around the kids’ middles to teach them to swim “fast as fisk” and Bik has a tug-of-war with a “normous scormous eee-normous fisk” that eventually pulls his rowboat back to the wharf. Making his chapter book debut, Bean contributes black-and-white illustrations that have a timeless feel and comically convey the siblings’ mischievous spirit. Ages 7-10. (June)