Deploying her signature graphics, Ehlert digs into familiar turf, depicting a vegetable garden whose pests are handily dispatched by a resident mole.
Mole narrates a staccato, rhyming text that matches her dine-and-dash lifestyle. She eats beneficial organisms like earthworms but also often devours such destructive infiltrators as the tomato hornworm and the cabbage caterpillar. Ehlert’s reductive paper collages depict Mole’s habitat as a vibrant scarlet tunnel threading an underground teeming with insects, worms, and the roots of neatly labeled, rapidly growing vegetables. Mole is cut (with pinking shears!) of fibrous gray paper and sports bright pink forefeet, tail, and snout. Angleworms are amusingly represented as red zigzags, and moths, worms, and grubs masquerade as facial features for the sun and several phases of the moon. The garden’s season is a strong visual theme. A seed potato sprouts and grows tubers and leaves (with Mole neatly nipping an infestation of potato beetles); the plant’s impressive underground bounty fans out across a double spread. As the garden grows, so does Mole: “my burrow seems small. Holey Moley! / I’m a fat fur ball.” Reclining against a mountainous veggie harvest, Mole muses on a new-home search. Slyly, she addresses readers: “Do you think I could move in with you?”
Crisp design, her hallmark typeface (Century Standard), and touches of whimsy combine for another delightful garden tour from Ehlert. (visual glossary of garden fauna) (Picture book. 4-8)