Two dogs trying to rescue a cat go on a surprising aeronautical journey in this children’s book.
Dogs Orval and Wibber (a child’s mispronunciation of “Orville” and “Wilbur”) live in an orchard near Lake Michigan with their human family: Sam, Sandra, and their daughter, Millie, plus Perkins, a “not-very-friendly gray tomcat.” Wibber is smart and shaggy; Orval is bigger and not so bright: “Orval mostly let Wibber do his long-range planning.” When the humans are away one day, Perkins gets stuck in a tree. Wibber develops a rescue plan involving a wheelbarrow and Millie’s helium balloons. This leads to the dogs’ making an unscheduled flight. Eventually they return, leaving Orval on top of the walnut tree and Wibber trapped beneath the overturned wheelbarrow, giving the family a mystery to figure out upon its return. Perkins, naturally, rescues himself. In his debut, Kime tells a wryly funny story that’s full of fine details and observations, such as a little boy on an airplane who spies the dogs and tells his mother, who doesn’t believe him. The author brings out the animals’ personalities well; Perkins, for example, is appropriately blasé and ungrateful about the rescue attempt. Shanks’ brightly colored, scribbly illustrations add to the whimsy and effectively capture both action and character.
Delightfully funny and sweet while also perceptive about animals.