MORDANT'S WISH by Valerie Coursen


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Mordant the Mole wishes for a friend and gets one in this greeting-card-pretty picture book. Mordant sees a cloud in the sky that looks like a turtle, and wishes the turtle were real, and his friend. While he is wishing, he blows on a white dandelion and scatters its seeds, which causes a bike rider to think of snow, and then, snow cones. Cause and effect all but take over, as the drips from the snow cone remind a bird to visit its aunt, a barber takes liberty with a haircut, etc. The chain reaction isn't perfect, but does lead to a turtle's crossing a road in time to meet Mordant. In Coursen's first book, the gouache colors are light and airy; some of the visual perspectives are intriguing, e.g., a rose from the beetle's point of view. The illustrations are the highlight of the book: There's a good idea behind all the activity, but it's not as tightly timed as David Macaulay's Shortcut (1995), nor does it fully engage readers, emotionally, to carry them over the bumps in the plot. Those old enough to know the meaning of Mordant's name may wonder if his wish for a friend is, after all, mere sarcasm.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Henry Holt