Petra Mathers, . . Atheneum/Schwartz, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83018-1

Mathers (A Cake for Herbie) never falters in the fourth book in her consistently engaging series about Lottie the chicken and her Oysterville coterie. Here Dodo, an exotic German bird introduced in Lottie's New Friend, meets Vince, a curmudgeonly former helicopter pilot who lost a leg in a rescue mission. Dodo's interest, kindness and indefatigable good humor quickly pierce Vince's crusty veneer. Love and a wedding follow—a time-honored sequence that Mathers makes entirely her own through the use of idiosyncratic, funny details underpinned by sweetness and warmth. Vince delivers his proposal, inscribed on a life ring, to Dodo's yard via helicopter; she uses the clothes hanging on the line to spell out an affirmative reply visible from above. His head-feathers, drooping in tune with his mood at the start, gradually perk up as he does, until he sports a glorious top-knot indeed. Every wedding, of course, has a flirtation with disaster; in Dodo's case, a pre-wedding beauty bath somehow irremediably turns her a glow-in-the-dark fluorescent green. The groom rises to the occasion—"My sunshine, my night-light," he gallantly proclaims—and a wonderful celebration ensues. Fans of the previous books will enjoy seeing familiar details sprinkled throughout the tidily boxed, stylish illustrations: the flower girl from the wedding in Lottie's Beach Towel serves in this ceremony as well; as the moon rises, a young mouse falls asleep on that eponymous, distinctive polka-dotted towel. A wedding well worth attending. Ages 4-8. (May)