cover image Where's Walrus?

Where's Walrus?

Stephen Savage, Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-70049-8

Not to be confused with a certain lanky tourist in a striped red shirt, the blubbery namesake of this wordless escapade is on the lam from the zoo. As other animals and a zookeeper nap, the mischievous walrus lunges out the main gate. In the following spreads, readers see a city fountain with a sculpture of a mermaid opposite a familiar gray tusker who mimics her pose; a shop window with twin mannequins beside a curvaceous, gray third; and a row of five firefighters, only four of whom wear rubber coats and boots. In each spread, the mustached zookeeper—wearing a Keystone Kops–style blue uniform and toting a pathetically tiny net—scans the scene for evidence of his quarry. Savage (Polar Bear Night) composes pared-down digital illustrations with high-contrast hues and saturated color, reminiscent of Richard McGuire's art. Younger children will giggle at his visual gags, which depend on repeated shapes next to the walrus, who disrupts each pattern while hiding in plain sight. This silent chase, which ends amenably for both pursuer and escapee, pairs well with Peggy Rathmann's perennial favorite Goodnight, Gorilla. Ages 3–6. (Feb.)