Willy—the small boy whose self-absorbed attachment to a household sock monkey is shared by Earl, the family cat—has grown into a more adventuresome fellow (I’ll Save You Bobo!, 2012, etc.).
On an expedition outdoors, Willy boldly kicks at some “[p]oison mushrooms,” notices acorns and delicate flowers, lets a caterpillar crawl up his shirt, and finally launches Bobo, the sock monkey, into a small creek in a found vessel—a red pail. Too smart to venture far on the slippery rocks to rescue Bobo, who has sailed into the middle of the current, Willy returns home for the proper rescue turnout and reappears in bright rain gear, fishing pole at the ready to snag the bobbing bucket. Meanwhile, readers get to see Earl step delicately across the rocks to claim Bobo. The ever-watchful Earl stands in sweetly for a vigilant protector—not of Willy, but of Bobo, which lets Willy’s adventure seem quite independent. The story unfolds clearly through the illustrations, offering an opportunity for young listeners to return to retell the tale. The generous white space and bold lines of the illustrations, Earl’s expressive, scheming face, along with the nicely visual, slapstick punch line all invite very young readers to identify with Willy.
Endearing as a slightly exaggerated solo adventure with a stuffed animal—but then there’s Earl, who adds a lovely dose of spice. (Picture book. 2-6)