cover image Gordon and Tapir

Gordon and Tapir

Sebastian Meschenmoser. NorthSouth (IPS, dist.), $18.95 (60p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4

This odd-couple story from Meschenmoser (Waiting for Winter) starts as Gordon the penguin, perched on the loo, reaches out and discovers that the toilet paper is gone. Following a suspicious trail into the bedroom of his housemate, Tapir, he discovers the room festooned with toilet paper and the rest of the roll piled on Tapir’s head like a turban. The two exchange accusations. Tapir’s dirty dishes teeter precariously in the sink; Gordon’s fishy garbage “stank to high heaven.” After Gordon moves out, readers may expect that it’s the end of their friendship. Not at all—they just need space. “From then on they called each other a lot. Gordon was invited to Tapir’s party, and of course he said yes.” Drawing with his own sublime blend of wit and intelligence, Meschenmoser warmly evokes the mathematical precision of Gordon’s pantry, the jungle-like chaos of Tapir’s room, and a silent supporting cast of birds, a hippo, and other zoo animals. There’s not a morsel of judgment, just the conviction that even hilariously different creatures can find a way to love each other. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)