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by Peter Bently, illustrated by Mei Matsuoka

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4677-3449-3
Publisher: Andersen Press USA

A not-so-simple errand turns into a visit to distant planets and great adventures for Simon the Squirrel and his friends.

With his rather eclectic shopping list in hand and some good friends, Simon flies through the universe in a hot air balloon. They head for the moon to buy some cheese—the most important ingredient—but they are blown off course by a high-jumping cow, so they go to Mars instead to buy some of the items on his list and then on to Saturn, Uranus and the others to purchase the rest. Along the way, they encounter the obligatory little green man, a hairy pink monster and other creatures of varying idiosyncrasies. He arrives home without the cheese, but his pals have it, and they all have a pizza party to celebrate. Bently charges up the silliness with singsong verses in aabb rhyme that dash madly through the escapades. There’s a charming mixture of American and British vernacular, and young American readers will find sufficient contextual clues for understanding “clamber,” “cross” and “daft,” and there’s “Mom” and “fries” for those on this side of the pond. In Matsuoka’s bright, lively, stylized illustrations, most of the animals bear little resemblance to their real-life counterparts, but they fly across the pages in perfect tandem with the goofy spirit of the text.

A fun-filled ride. (Picture book. 3-8)