Everyone needs a little help from their friends.
Charlie, Lulu, and Oliver (bunny, owl, and elephant, respectively) are young toddlerlike animals who love to play together. This third book of the series—with Oliver’s Tree (2014) and Lulu’s Party (2015)—finds the friends out fishing on the river. Poor Charlie is trying his best for a catch like the ones his friends effortlessly achieve but is only managing to land sticks. Glum at first, he is eventually inspired to switch gears and build a little boat out of some of his sticks. His friends follow suit, but unfortunately, in the race that follows, Charlie’s boat comes in last, and he feels unsuccessful again. Is there any way he can cheer up? “I have a grand idea,” offers Oliver. Minimal, simple text, just right for young readers and listeners, straightforwardly relates the story, while Chase’s soft and appealing watercolor-and-ink illustrations, charming and succinct, capture the joys and frustrations of childhood with gentle humor and precision. Children will be drawn in by the bonhomie of the tale and the support and playfulness of the friends as values of creativity, resilience, patience, helpfulness, and compassion are emphasized without a trace of didacticism.
A pleasant tale with realistic and lovable characters successfully delivers subtle lessons couched in warmth and playfulness. (Picture book. 3-6)