The Vole Brothers

Roslyn Schwartz. Owlkids, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-926818-83-2
The eponymous brothers (adapted from a monthly comic strip in Chirp magazine) are "ravenous rodents" who can't get their paws on a coveted slice of discarded pepperoni pizza. Thwarted by a fat cat (who almost makes them a dinner al fresco), a clever bird, and a small but intimidating army of ants, they're finally persuaded that wild strawberries make a perfectly respectable repast. Given her success with the Mole Sisters, it's not surprising that Schwartz would want to turn her talents to another gender (and species). But whereas the Mole Sisters possessed a rich inner life and a keen sense of observation, the Vole Brothers seem defined by their appetite and little else, resulting in a fairly plodding story. They're mildly mischievous, and even have a few endearing guy qualities (they exclaim "Woohoo!" and bump booties when they think the pizza is in their possession). But the brothers aren't notably funny, wily, or even hapless, so their antagonists (particularly the cat) register far more vividly. Ages 2–5. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Children's
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