Wyatt, with his tranquil predisposition, is unfortunately paired up with bold, noisy Noreen on a class trip to a nature park.
Strong, black pencil outlines create humorous caricatures, filled in with watercolor and gouache. Noreen’s big, bushy red ponytail plays off well against Wyatt’s mousy brown hair. She starts off boasting. “Fishing is my specialty” and “I was born for boating,” she brags. The illustrations show quite a different story. She tangles her line around Wyatt and causes him to fall out of the canoe. In an amusing double-page spread, she studies a butterfly and says, “I’m so good at noticing the details, it’s scary. “Meanwhile, she misses the large, bewildered beasts behind her. The two share other adventures, all dictated by Noreen: dangerous tree-climbing, hiking into poison ivy, zip lining. Finally, Noreen breaks into song just as she is walking down a hill that bears a sign warning of avalanche. Wyatt’s ninja-camp training, shown early in the book, kicks into high gear. He yells first and then, with a series of heroic moves, pulls Noreen out of the way of the descending rocks. Yes, it could be viewed as a typical boy-rescues-girl story, but in the end, Noreen and Wyatt end up enjoying nature quietly and doing martial arts together. These two opposite personalities are both white, although there is some diversity in the class.
A humorous friendship story with a little bit of an ironic twist. (Picture book. 5-7)