Books by Adria Meserve

Released: April 4, 2006

In this pointed allegory, an aptly named dog "with very big ideas" persuades the animal residents of an idyllic island to convert all of the local resources into a mountain for him to perch atop, then repents when the laborers decamp to the next island paradise over. Meserve depicts the island's transformation from leafy lushness to gray, barren-looking wasteland in broadly brushed cartoon scenes, then closes on a cheerier note as Napoleon welcomes his erstwhile slaves back after single-handedly restoring the island to its former beauty. It all seems a little too easy, and parts of this, such as how Napoleon recruits a volunteer workforce simply through force of personality, may be over the heads of younger readers, but the idea that reckless development is bad for the environment comes through loud and clear. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
SMOG THE CITY DOG by Adria Meserve
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

Billed as a retelling of an Aesop's fable, The Dog and His Shadow, this update follows the trail of a hungry dog along a city waterway. Smog the dog has stolen a bag of groceries and must find a place to eat them, while the rest of the animals in the park—a mouse, a hedgehog masquerading as a porcupine, a squirrel, duck, cat, and fox—want their piece of the action. When Smog, who doesn't want to share, drops the bundle into the drink while barking at his reflection in the water, he realizes he has to cooperate with everyone to get the food back. The moral is well taken, the illustrations are nice and colorful, and the text winds through the design; you might say all the pieces are in place. But somehow it lacks punch, or cleverness, or edginess, or just plain soul, enough for the reader to ask, "Why did they bother?" Simply, Meserve's debut is a taste but not a feast. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >