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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Vole Brothers, written and illustrated by Roslyn Schwartz. Owlkids, 2011. $16.95 ages 2 and up

"I'm so hungry I could eat
a cat!
He'll hear you.
Something smells good. 
Follow that cat!"

Roslyn Schwartz returns with a new band of brothers to delight and entertain her young readers. Following on the success of the Mole Sisters, she brings the same sense of fun and quiet humor to her famished, funny voles.

We know that they are in trouble. A reward is offered:


Two small, ravenous rodents recently arrived from the country.
Last seen chomping and chewing on daisies, tulips and roses."

So, we know they are hungry but we don't know much else about them. Luckily, the author is skilled at helping us discover their penchant for food to fill their bellies, and the lengths to which they will go to find that food. Plants and flowers just don't cut it!

Now, pepperoni pizza? That gives a vole pause. The cat finds the enticing smell coming from a dingy dumpster...soon the paws have it! Time for the voles to use their wily ways to get it for themselves. The cat is quick to nab the paper bag they have been travelling in, only to be surprised at its emptiness. In the meantime the voles have done what they do best...dig a tunnel leading straight to the smelly slice.

All does not go well! Ants and crows ensure the disappearance of their anticipated meal...some would call that poetic justice. Still hungry, they continue their hunt. The cat seems intent on payback and too soon it appears that the brothers will be supper, rather than finding it! How will they escape the cat's claws and what are they going to eat?

Their story is cleverly written, with elements of humor, surprise, and shock. The illustrations give readers another set of characters to love, with lots of action and excitement to boot. I certainly look forward to the next instalment!

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