cover image Mr. Lunch Borrows a Canoe: 7

Mr. Lunch Borrows a Canoe: 7

J. Otto Seibold. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-85661-9

Seibold and Walsh's (Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride) eccentric canine hero and bird-chaser extraordinaire is on the move again, this time in a canoe on loan from an elephant. His first night out he is frightened by a bear, and, paddling as fast as he can, as far as he can, he eventually reaches a city where all the streets are waterways. There he finds the bird-chasing opportunity of his career: after he empties what is clearly St. Mark's Square of its ubiquitous pigeons, he is awarded the Golden Outboard Motor as a gift of gratitude, and with it makes his way speedily home. This adventure, Mr. Lunch's second, is somewhat less manic than his first outing, but it's all relative-plenty of off-the-wall humor fills both the deadpan text (in the authors' unnamed Venice, ``nobody noticed a dog in a boat, because everyone was in a boat'') and the zany, one-of-a-kind computer-generated art, which packs an astonishing degree of action, expression and detail onto each page. Campy yet childlike, sophisticated yet frankly silly, the Mr. Lunch books exert a quirky charm that is hard to define and even harder to resist. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)