cover image Bill and Pete to the Rescue

Bill and Pete to the Rescue

Tomie dePaola. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23208-4

Little Jane Allison, William Everett (Bill) Crocodile's cousin, has disappeared from the banks of the Nile in dePaola's third, likable, loony adventure starring crackerjack sleuth Bill and his best pal (and trusty toothbrush), Pete the plover. An eyewitness reports that the diminutive crocodile has been loaded onto a ship in a cage. ""It's times like these that I wish your father was here, and not a suitcase,"" laments Bill's Mama, gazing at a painting of a green valise, labeled ""Dad."" The winningly melodramatic text and perky, neon-hued art repeatedly serve up similarly droll tidbits, likely to entertain parents as well as youngsters. Bill and Pete, both wearing backpacks, stow away on the ship, which berths in New Orleans. There a throng of friendly 'gators gives Bill a rousing bayou welcome and helps him rescue Little Jane. She happens to be sharing a cage with Bill's father, who--oh joy!--is not a suitcase after all. Readers will delight in this dynamic duo and will happily accompany them to any continent. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)