cover image The La-Di-Da Hare

The La-Di-Da Hare

J. Patrick Lewis. Atheneum Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31925-9

O frabjous day! Lewis (Riddle-icious) salutes Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear with this bouncy rhyme. As the tale opens, a tiny Mouse tempts his much larger friend, the Honeypot Bear, with word of the La-di-da Hare. Mouse convinces Bear to set sail for the Hare's home, a tropical paradise: ""For what would a Hare or a Bear rather do/ Than admire the highland,/ The blue butterflyland, / The fabulous Island of Oh?"" They dive into the ocean, and Commodore Mouse navigates the ""S.S. Honeypot Bear"" (really the bear himself) to Oh; they're warmly welcomed by the Hare, who treads lightly on ""Q-Tip toes,"" flashes a ring of ""2-carrot gold"" and beckons them to stay. Lewis's seagoing romance introduces animal onlookers from a smiling crocodile to lobsters to a chorus of oysters ("" `Ack-ack!' a Blue-clawed Crab clacked back,/ `Oi-oi!' the Oysters cried""). The author often varies his lively meter from page to page, but always keeps readers sing-songing merrily along. Bluthenthal (Matilda the Moocher) paints the beach environment in muted gouache hues; palm fronds and ferns frame the sandy scenery, and the ethereal La-di-da wears a green grass skirt and pink lei (in terms of attitude, she's the opposite of Carroll's flustered White Rabbit). Though not quite nonsensical itself, this unpredictable and spirited romp blithely echoes classic nonsense poetry. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)