OLIVER, CLARENCE & VIOLET by James Stevenson


Email this review


Oliver, Clarence, and Violet, a beaver, a turtle, and a turkey, respectively, squabble as kids do and otherwise behave in a recognizably imperfect manner. This begins with Oliver pounding away at a secret project and the other two pretending they aren't curious. But Clarence tricks Oliver into confiding in him--Oliver is building a ship to go round the world--and soon the whole pond community has heard the news. And so, when Clarence and Violet are taken on for the voyage (Clarence providing sandwiches and Violet contributing the sail and the vessel's name, the Violet II) they have a time beating off the horde of animals who've been sold tickets by slimy Vince the frog. But at last the three are under way, with only a few small stowaways: First, ""What's that stuff hanging from the yardarm,"" Oliver asks. ""Looks like some old rags,"" says Violet--but it turns out to be Grover and Cheryl, a pair of bats. And later, as the boat seems to drag, Violet looks down over the stern. ""Are there supposed to be green fingers attached to the rudder?"" she asks Oliver--and thus they discover unpopular Vince, with his sickening smile, clinging to the rudder. Before a waterfall ends the voyage, two heroes have been made: first Vince, who goes over the falls while playing the hero, and then, more impressively, Oliver, who quickly fells a tree across the top of the falls to save his two nonswimming friends. Back at the pond there's a welcome-home party, but Stevenson doesn't end the adventure all sweetness and accord. Vince is still unlovable and unpopular, and the Swamp-Tones, a quintet of salamanders, are still such terrible singers that their party entertainment prompts the three principals to plan another voyage. This one is refreshing all the way.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1982
Publisher: Greenwillow