cover image The Problem with the Puddles

The Problem with the Puddles

Kate Feiffer, , illus. by Tricia Tusa. . S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (208pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-4961-9

This capricious novel marks Feiffer's (President Pennybaker ) move into middle-grade fiction, in a story about a family that, for some reason, attracts clouds (“It was as if the cloud suddenly forgot it was heading to a hurricane in Florida or an important blizzard in Canada”). Additionally, the Puddle parents disagree on everything: one of their children is called Baby because they couldn't choose a name. And since the couple squabbled over a breed, the Puddles have two dogs—both named Sally. Alternating between the perspectives of the two- and four-legged family members, the story reveals what happens when the Puddles inadvertently leave “the Sallys” behind at the end of a long vacation in the country. The kid-friendly humor (“Just like meat loaf is like a loaf of meat, a conundrum is like a drum of conun,” one of the Sallys “explains,” as the dogs consider what to do), the full cast of eccentric characters and Tusa's (Fred Stays with Me! ) lively b&w spot art should readily win fans for the Puddle family. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)