cover image Doctor de Soto Goes to Africa

Doctor de Soto Goes to Africa

William Steig. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-205002-1

Articulating the affection of a multitude of fans--``Dr. Bernard De Soto was such a one-in-a-million, humdinger of a dentist that the whole world knew about him''--Steig reintroduces the debonair mouse-dentist and his beloved wife/assistant, Deborah. The dental dilemma of an elephant named Mudambo lead the duo on a pain relief mission to West Africa. No sooner are they ashore than Dr. De Soto is kidnapped by ``a certain rhesus monkey, Honkitonk by name,'' sworn enemy of Mudambo--who considers his foe ``an ill-bred pachyderm with a preposterous schnozzola.'' It's all here: the exuberant, Steigian phrases that somersault off the tongue, the nimble humor, the unflinching drama. Unfortunately, the rather complex plot doesn't utilize the dentist's by-now-legendary cunning for its resolution; it does, however, showcase the equally skilled, ever-faithful Deborah. Creatures of every stripe and feather populate this unique African jungle, evoking images and characters from previous works. Yet the vibrant, colorful illustrations exude a freshness and pizzazz that will leave readers wondering where the next world-class toothache will strike. Ages 3-up. (June)