cover image Oh No, It's Waylon's Birthday!

Oh No, It's Waylon's Birthday!

James Stevenson. Greenwillow Books, $12.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-688-08235-2

This lively and entertaining collection is comprised of three animal stories, each distinctly different from the next, but all embodied with a sense of spirited adventure and good-natured fun. In the first story, Waylon the elephant is depressed. On the occasion of his 249th birthday there is no present he has not already received once, no variety of birthday cake that he has not already sampled. Waylon's friends assess the situations and come up with a surprising solution. The second story involves an apologetic hippo named Gardner who searches in vain for a quiet place to nap, finding that even the bottom of the river can be crowded and aggravating. The crown jewel of the trilogy is ``Slippery Ice,'' in which the struggles of six penguins trying to remain on a slippery iceberg makes for hilarious fun. These stories are loaded with gentle humor and peppered with dialogue that contributes considerable texture to the engaging storylines. Stevenson's pen and ink drawings, washed with color, are masterfully done and convey both the tender and funny aspects of the subjects with verve and style. Ages 6-up. (Mar.)