cover image Hoppy and Joe

Hoppy and Joe

Betty Paraskevas. Simon & Schuster, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82199-8

Splashes of beach-ball-bright color set the summery mood in this tale of an unlikely friendship between a lonely dog and a one-legged seagull. Joe the dog spends his days alone on the beach while his owner, Gino, runs a busy lemon-ice stand. Things pick up when Joe rescues a tough-talking seagull who has lost part of a leg when caught between two rocks. Even after Gino bans the bird from the stand (""He'll drive away my customers""), Joe steadfastly nurses Hoppy back to health. Later, when Joe's owner decides to pack up the truck and move south, Hoppy thinks it's curtains for their companionship, but Joe finds a way to keep everyone together. The mother-and-son collaborators (Junior Kroll; The Tangerine Bear) demonstrate their customary brand of offbeat humor--Hoppy's recuperation involves a diet of french fries and piggyback rides up and down the beach (""I just want to feel the wind in my feathers,"" he tells Joe). Michael Paraskevas's acrylics brim with drollery. One accomplished sequence shows a pessimistic Hoppy imagining his attempt to follow Joe and Gino south (in thought bubbles, he sees himself lying dazed, his beak crumpled, seeing stars; he pictures the feathers falling from his wings), but he lets Joe persuade him (he envisions himself wearing sunglasses on a tropical beach). Another feather in the Paraskevases' cap. Ages 4-8. (May)