A girl tries to find help for a stray baby animal in this picture book from debut author Hoppe and illustrator Reardon (Noodles’ and Albie’s Birthday Surprise, 2016).
When Lottie and her dog, Rufus, find a lone “pup” (who’s not initially shown in the illustrations) on a trash-filled beach, they’re eager to help him. The girl approaches several people about helping the pup, each time answering questions about what he can do, but no one’s willing to take it in. The animal shelter worker assumes the pup is a dog—but when she gets a good look, she refuses to help. A park ranger thinks the pup might be a bat, and a sea lion keeper guesses it’s a sea lion, but they’re mistaken. Finally, Lottie finds a helpful marine-animal rescue team member, and readers discover the pup is a baby shark. Reardon’s realistic pastel-and-ink illustrations, populated with humans with a variety of skin tones, do an excellent job of hiding the identity of the pup and showing the adults’ shocked expressions. Hoppe uses clever science-related questions (“Does the pup have super-cool senses to help find its food?”) to encourage readers to guess the animal’s identity and to think about how different animals share similar qualities.
A beautifully illustrated tale that’s sure to appeal to animal lovers and budding environmentalists.