A lanky, little explorer paddles her canoe on a lake and inadvertently sings up a huge, green beast.
All the other boaters scatter in a panicked frenzy, but later that night, under a moonlit sky, Hattie McFadden returns to the middle of the still lake. Without the distraction of motor boats, the white redhead takes the time to befriend Hudson. The next day, the townsfolk meet to suggest ways to get rid of “the Deadly Beast.” Dismayed, Hattie thinks, “If only they knew him.” The two new friends put together a plan to convince the town of Hudson’s kindness. Hattie bravely finds her voice and makes an announcement to the town: “This lake is his home, and I think he deserves to stay. Once you get to know him, I’m sure you’ll agree.” The glory of lakeshore life is celebrated as idyllic, with lush forests and hills and cool blue water. An undercurrent of environmentalism is present in the symbolic canoe compared to motorboats, and the message of getting to know strangers is a timely one. The gouache illustrations are filled with details that bring light and life to the pages, from each water droplet to every rolled-up sleeve. Hudson, although enormous, is drawn with expressive eyes and a lovely green hue that reflects the stars in the sky, and Van Dusen expertly takes advantage of perspective and composition to make sure readers remember at all times exactly how huge Hudson is.
Outdoor enthusiasts will celebrate this brave young heroine as she schools the town on acceptance. (Picture book. 4-8)