Working to recruit a walrus as a playmate, a small boy living near the ocean serendipitously discovers a new friend.
When young Wendell spies a walrus-shaped cloud, he imagines having a real walrus named Roger. They would tell jokes, ride bikes, climb trees, build forts, fly kites, draw, and “have the most stupendiferous, cosmically colossal best time of their lives.” After a trip to Uncle Zed’s Pet Emporium fails to produce a walrus, Wendell resorts to tossing a bottle with his personal invitation to a walrus into the ocean. On an adjoining cliff, Wendell notices a boy named Morrell tossing his own letter to a whale into the waves. Waiting by the ocean, Wendell and Morrell eventually decide “to pass the time together,” eventually doing everything they’d imagined doing with a walrus and a whale. Sprightly, lighthearted illustrations capture Wendell’s infectious energy and enthusiasm in loose pencil outlines against pale, expansive watercolor washes denoting hillsides, ocean, and sky. Humorous vignettes of the ever optimistic Wendell playing with an imaginary Roger, oblivious to the impracticalities of a walrus biking, tree-climbing, fort-building, kite-flying, or drawing, prove highly amusing, while scenes of Wendell, too absorbed in his walrus quest to notice Morrell’s parallel whale hunt, suggest the upbeat finale. Wendell has red hair and pale skin; Morrell has tightly curled black hair and brown skin.
A “stupendiferous, cosmically colossal” good time for all. (Picture book. 3-7)