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Saturday, May 26, 2018

If Wendell Had a Walrus, written by Lori Mortenson and illustrated by Matt Phelan. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2018. $24.99 ages 4 and up

"Then they'd jump on
Wendell's bike and pedal
right past Old Mrs. Quimby's
house. Wouldn't she be
They'd climb trees,
build forts,
fly kites,


One day while out riding his bike, Wendell takes note of a walrus-shaped cloud. That gets him thinking about a real walrus, and that he might like to have one. Should he find one, he has the perfect name for it - Roger. They would share a love of jokes, the 'punnier' the better. They would surprise Mrs. Quimby as they sped past her garden, Roger being pulled in a wagon by Wendell on his bike.

Some of his imaginings fall flat when he remembers that walruses can't climb trees, build forts without incident, or fly kites. No matter. They would love being together, and spend as much time as possible having the time of their lives.

But, Wendell doesn't have a walrus.

Maybe Uncle Zed's Pet Emporium has one for sale.

"Sorry," said Uncle Zed.
Unfortunately, he didn't
expect a walrus shipment
in the foreseeable future."

So, Wendell stuffs a note in a bottle and launches it into the ocean, asking any walrus to come visit. What he gets instead is a new friend!

Matt Phelan uses pencil and watercolor to create the warmth and energy of the setting, while also ensuring that the humorous encounters between the walrus he wants to have and Wendell himself are lighthearted and engaging. 

The final image is a real hoot!

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