Horatio's One Wish
Joshua Kriesberg, illus. by James Bernadin. Blue Bog Press (joshuakriesberg.com), $11.95 paper (214p) ISBN 978-0-9886967-0-9
This peripatetic animal adventure stars Horatio, a resourceful hedgehog who lives on his own and loves spending days with his best friend Rollic, an otter. When Rollic fails to return from an expedition downriver, Horatio hears "the roar of the river deep inside him" and senses that his friend is calling him. On Horatio's quest to rescue Rollic, the hedgehog accumulates amiable traveling companions%E2%80%94two hamster brothers and a pair of snail siblings%E2%80%94who lead him to a venerable owl named Graysent. The owl tells them the legend of Scarretchen, an evil "half-man, half-beast" who watches over magical wishing stones. Suspecting this creature has captured Rollic, Graysent gives the travelers a map that directs them to Scarretchen's enchanted turf. Though their journey has some sluggish moments, the friends have several narrow escapes that Kriesberg describes with considerable suspense. Emotion supplants action as Horatio, with the help of a fetching female hedgehog, is reunited with his grateful friend and his long-lost family. Bernadin's skillful b&w line drawings add zip%E2%80%94and a stately, old-fashioned look%E2%80%94to the story. Ages 8%E2%80%9312.
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013