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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fuddles, written adn illustrated by Frans Vischer. Aladdin, Simon & Schuster. 2011. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"The lure of adventure had taken
hold of him. He dreamed of scaling
soaring mountains and fighting
ferocious foes. He was determined
to go out.
Nothing was going to stop him."

Kids love stories about pets. Any kid who has a cat might recognize Fuddles' disdain for the everydayness of his life. He is rotund, indulged and it isn't enough! He longs for adventure and is determined to find it.

Mom refuses to let him venture outside, fearing trouble. That isn't going to stop him. He practices all those skills he thinks he will need for a life outside the confines of the house and, at his first opportunity, makes a break for it. Of course, once outdoors, he encounters problems of all sorts.

He would love a 'go' at the birds in the birdhouse on the porch. Seems his penchant for rich foods is weighing him down when it comes to pouncing with any height. Flustered and filthy, he sets about cleaning himself  up only to attract the attention of nearby squirrels who find his dilemma hilarious. He can't get up the tree after them, and now he's worn out!

The 'catnap' lasts seconds. A rough and rugged dog next door scares him enough to put him in the tree. Who's going to get him down? No worry...his weight does that! A harrowing and hilarious ride on the back of the alarmed dog convinces him that all he wants is home. Luckily, someone has noticed he is missing.

Cuddles is a clown whose adventures are over the top and sure to have him thinking twice about making his escape at any other time. I love his expressive face and comic reactions to the many unexpected situations that happen during his foray outdoors. The petrified leap from the flower bed will have little ones laughing out loud. My favorite illustrations are the ones that find him searching the neighborhood looking for the comfort of home. The aerial view is full of wonder as we follow his trek in light and in darkness. The beam of warm light that leads him to safety is perfect! His final thought is just what you might expect from Fuddles:

"And all great adventurers deserve to be pampered."

Pair this with Nini Lost and Found and you have double delight!

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