Over There

Steve Pilcher. Disney Press, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-4793-0
A shrew named Shredder lives in a woodland paradise of sculpted roots, glistening leaves, and filtered light, yet he’s anxious and lonely: “And when he swung on a rubber band and sang a little song, there was no one to sing along.” He sets off in search of something more—he’s not sure what. When the silver foil cup Shredder is using for a boat capsizes, and he’s rescued by a mole, Nosey’s casual self-introduction (“I’m a professional digger.... Wanna dig?”) is the beginning of the friendship Shredder only half-realized he was seeking. Shredder’s shrew-size den, with its bottle-cap dishes and matchbox bed, will draw smiles, while the silvery rivulets in which his boat founders testify to Pixar production artist Pilcher’s ability to produce breathtaking visual effects. Pleasing tension is set up between the narration, told from Shredder’s point of view (“When a giant shadow came over them, they hid inside a cave”), and the extra information that Pilcher reveals on the page—the cave is a pair of worn leather work boots. Pilcher’s debut will likely win Shredder more than one new friend. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014
Release date: 09/23/2014
Genre: Children's
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