cover image Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan

Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan

Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Arthur Howard. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0449-5

Twenty years after Gooseberry Park, Rylant and Howard return with a companion book, and it’s well worth the wait. While an ice storm figured prominently in the previous book, a drought is now causing trouble for Stumpy the squirrel, Murray the bat, and other animals in and around the park. Rylant swiftly recaps the events of the earlier book before moving on to the animals’ efforts to secure needed water, using a plan devised by genius crow Herman (it involves 200 owls and a great many drinking straws). Howard’s b&w illustrations build on the story’s ample humor (as when he shows a blissed-out Murray enjoying a Reiki session from Gwendolyn the hermit crab) while Rylant unspools a quietly magical tale of cooperation and kindness, with a gentle environmental undercurrent. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)