cover image Read the Book, Lemmings!

Read the Book, Lemmings!

Ame Dyckman, illus. by Zachariah OHora. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-34348-0

This latest crackpot comedy from the duo behind Wolfie the Bunny and Horrible Bear! stars three highly suggestible lemmings, a whale moonlighting as a freighter, a polar bear captain, and a fox first mate. The opening endpapers show a large sign about lemmings posted on an iceberg. “People used to think lemmings jumped off cliffs,” it says. “Now we know they don’t.” Across from the sign, a lemming jumps off a cliff. “Wonder what that says,” it muses, midair. “Me, too!” says the second. “Ditto!” says the third. The lemmings land aboard the freighter, where Foxy the mate reads from Everything About Lemmings: “Says here, lemmings don’t jump off cliffs.” Too bad the lemmings hear only “jump.” Foxy has to stage multiple rescues: “Why didn’t you read the book, lemmings?!” Though he teaches the three to read, the lemmings are always one step ahead (or behind). OHora’s scratchy, comically stiff figures and poker-faced humor beautifully embody the tale’s essential absurdity. And the lemmings’ final victory affirms that progress is possible even for the terminally silly. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Scott Treimel, Scott Treimel N.Y. Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Literary. (Nov.)