The Barnaby family is getting ready to go on vacation, but Fergus keeps forgetting things.
Young Fergus Barnaby, a small fuzzy bear, is trying to close his overstuffed suitcase but realizes several crucial items are missing. The family lives on the first floor of a typical New York brownstone apartment building, so Fergus must climb the stairs to the second floor to retrieve his bucket and shovel from his giraffe friend Fred; to the third floor to get his goggles from his hippo friend Emily Rose; and to the roof to get his kite from his monkey friend Teddy. The friends are each depicted in their distinctly styled living spaces, most interestingly Fred’s jazz studio. As with Barrow’s earlier Have You Seen Elephant? (2016), the illustrations are skillfully rendered in a splashy, textured watercolor style, with lots of interesting details. Clues to the personalities of the characters abound in the drawings taped to the walls, pictures on a fridge, and, sweetly, plants labeled with Fergus’ and Teddy’s names on Teddy’s balcony. Finally packed up, Fergus and Dad set off for the beach in their purple VW Bug only to realize a terrible omission: “We forgot MOM!!”
The free-spirited illustrations, the detailed urban setting, and Fergus’ close connections with his friends are sure to make this a hit with every child looking forward to a trip. (Picture book. 3-5)