Stopping a highway project that threatens his pond is going to take more than Cecil the toad’s ability to “toot.”
Cecil discovers the danger thanks to a short flight in the talons of a predatory but, fortunately, olfactorily sensitive hawk. Once safely back in the water, he calls together several pondside buddies including Jeremy the earthworm and Jeff, a “free-range hamster,” to brainstorm solutions to the crisis. Alas, it turns out to be not so easy for small creatures to stop giant bulldozers. Nothing if not nervy, Cecil even enlists the hawk to help by dropping rocks. No dice—“Catch you later,” the raptor sneers meaningfully as it flies off. Braddock’s experience illustrating A Charlie Brown Valentine (2002) and other post-Schulz Peanuts productions stands her in good stead here, as she presents in big cartoon panels a cast of neatly drawn creatures whose pithy commentary (the insectivorous Cecil, on his friendship with Reggie the fly: “Ours is a complex relationship”) is more sophisticated than their pratfalls and other broad antics. Just as all seems lost, two human biologists recognize another buddy, RayRay, as a rare “Jollyville Plateau salamander,” and the pond is saved. A pair of miniepisodes and assorted worm and Bufo americanus facts cap this wry eco-fable. Colored illustrations not seen.
Bufo buffoonery for fans of the Holms’ Squish series and like early graphics. (Graphic fantasy. 6-8)