cover image Dorothy and Mikey

Dorothy and Mikey

Keiko Kasza. Putnam Publishing Group, $12.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23356-2

In three breezy stories, Kasza (Don't Laugh, Joe!) captures the intermittent bickering, one-upmanship and affection integral to friendship. The title characters are two young hippos who are ""best friends... well, most of the time."" After a spat about who will save the other from the villains in a game of make-believe, Dorothy storms off and the two make futile attempts to have fun alone, until they agree to take turns ""saving each other from the bad guys."" In the subsequent tales, Dorothy teaches a bragging, teasing Mikey a lesson; her feelings are hurt when Mikey tells her he wants to be alone, but then she discovers he needed solitude to compose a poem for her. Though assuring happy conclusions to these episodes, the author wraps up each with a quirky twist, as when Dorothy surreptitiously edits a line in Mikey's ode to her, changing ""She's sometimes a pest,"" to ""She's always the best."" Kasza's spare, jovial pictures feature comical, changeable expressions on the faces of these devoted pals. The brevity of the text, limited vocabulary and snappy dialogue of the stories makes this a solid choice for readers graduating from picture books. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)