cover image ONE-DOG CANOE


Mary Casanova, M. Casanova, , illus. by Ard Hoyt. . FSG/Kroupa, $16.50 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-35638-5

Casanova (The Hunter) puts a North Woods spin on the popular folktale "The Mitten" as she loads up a small red canoe with animals of the forest and lake until the tippy boat can take no more. The wide-eyed blonde narrator sets off on a solo canoe ride, only to be accosted by her tail-wagging dog, "Can I come, too?" She replies, "You bet,... a trip for two—just me and you." Successive creatures emerge from land, water and sky to ask the paddling girl the same. She rebuffs them kindly, explaining that the craft is only big enough to accommodate its current occupants ("Maybe next time! It's a one-loon, one-beaver, one-dog canoe"). The animals nevertheless plop right in and make themselves at home. Rhyming text sets a buoyant tone, as do debut artist Hoyt's lively illustrations. Bestowing humorous anthropomorphic expressions on each critter's face, the artist also offers entertaining perspectives of the turmoil in the boat, e.g., enormous Moose, who easily fills most of a spread, settles in among wide-eyed Bear and Wolf, hungry Loon and the incredulous dog, as Beaver flinchingly peers out from beneath a paddle. An amusing subplot, about the fate of the girl's picnic lunch, develops wordlessly, to great effect. Readers will happily embark on this animated excursion. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)