cover image Bernard Pepperlin

Bernard Pepperlin

Cara Hoffman, illus. by Olga Demidova. HarperCollins, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-286544-1

In Hoffman’s whimsical debut, the Dormouse of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland lands in Manhattan after the irascible Mad Hatter shoves him into a porcelain teapot painted with the city’s skyline. Time has stopped in his homeland, where he’s been subjected to an endless tea party, so Bernard is thrilled to see a working clock in this “magnificent new world.” Soon, though, he learns that trouble is brewing in the metropolis, where the Pork Pie Gang of weasels is preparing to hold “The First, Last, and Only Endless Ukulele Concert,” which will stop time and force residents to do forever what the weasels do best: “nothing.” Determined to foil this nefarious plot, Bernard rallies the aid of a streetwise cat, escaped pets living in Manhattan’s underworld, and a troupe of cockroach musicians and tap dancers. Along with her obvious borrowings (there’s a blonde girl named Allie), Hoffman gives additional sly nods to Carroll’s classic (a queen in a red dress who runs a diner) and includes nonsensical verse of variable cleverness, creating a quirky flight of fancy with a rich lineage. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. [em](Sept.) [/em]