Friends who seem to be opposites find common ground.
Lightning-quick, impulsive Jasper, a fox, and his gentle, deliberately paced pal, Ollie, a sloth, head to the pool—or, rather, overbearing Jasper prevails on him to go. Jasper races ahead, oblivious that Ollie hasn’t yet left the house. When Jasper arrives and fails to see Ollie, the fox is convinced Ollie’s already there and sets out on a breakneck, madcap search to find him. In the end, the friends catch up with each other and make new plans. The story is thin and unoriginal, and some youngsters may wonder why, given that these guys are besties, Jasper is unaware of their speed differences and that Ollie couldn’t have gotten to the pool first. However, the quirky, comically energetic illustrations are the real draw and should elicit giggles. At the outset, a spread divided into three horizontal strips that include dashed lines traces Jasper’s frenzied scramble to win the race-that-never-was. Numerous subsequent spreads set at the pool are split horizontally so that the larger, upper portions depict Jasper’s frantic pursuit, while contrasting, comic-strip–like lower segments show Ollie leisurely ambling toward the pool, making stops on the way. Visual and tactile learners will savor the dashed lines incorporated into those illustrations of Jasper, too, enabling them to trace his breathlessly overwrought search as he recklessly wreaks havoc everywhere.
Good friends neatly show that differences don’t matter. (Picture book. 3-7)