cover image PLAIDYPUS LOST


Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel, , illus. by Stevens. . Holiday, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1561-8

Plaidypus, a homemade stuffed toy fashioned from Grandpa's old plaid shirt, has a problem: his pigtailed owner can't seem to stop losing him. "I'm sorry, Plaidypus. I'll never, ever, ever, ever lose you again," the girl swears after a fisherman extracts the forgotten, sodden toy from a lake (the string of "evers" in her promise gets longer with each episode of carelessness). "Plaidypus lost./ Plaidypus found," chimes the book's knowing refrain, "This story goes around and around." Stevens and Crummel, sisters whose past collaborations include And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon , have fun with the book's oversize format and the visual translation of its telegraphic, rhyming text. The large type, which looks almost like children's printing, shifts from black to a bright color to underscore an emotion or plot point—for example, when the girl accidentally ejects Plaidypus from the car window, her "Uh-oh" pops out in red. Set against crisp white space, Stevens's watercolors capture the heroine's personality: her plump, chipper willfulness, the energy she expends when pushing a shopping cart, the way her entire body droops when she realizes the toy has once again gone missing. Plaidypus himself, the size of a toddler (nearly as large as his owner) and garbed in a succession of hats, scuba gear, etc., is a mute scene-stealer. Any child who has claimed to be joined at the hip to a beloved toy will get a jolt of recognition. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)