Oct 15, 2011

Hopper and Wilson

Hopper and Wilson by Maria Van Lieshout

     Hopper the elephant and Wilson the mouse are best friends. One day, sitting on a pier looking out into the big blue sea, Hopper asked his little friend, "What do you think is at the end of the world?"  They are not sure what the answer might be, but one hopes there's lots of lemonade at the end of the world, and the other hopes there's a staircase to the moon.  They decided they needed to find out, so they packed their balloon with a red string, said good-bye to their cactus and jumped aboard their paper boat.  They sailed day and night until they got caught in the middle of a storm, lost their red ballon and were separated.  Wilson desperately looked for his friend until a bird that had followed their journey the whole time, guided Wilson using the red string from their lost balloon, and took him to Hopper.  The two friends are happily reunited and find the shore, where they can see lemon trees and...their cactus. "Aren't we lucky that our home is at the end of the world, Wilson?" "And at the beginning too!"
     Hopper and Wilson is a lovely tale of adventure and friendship.  The two characters are drawn as stuffed animals, where you can actually see the stitching run down their backs.  The illustration by Van Lieshout have a very tender feeling to them; beautiful watercolors outlined with black ink.  The blues and yellows of Hopper and Wilson, are mirrored by the blues of the ocean and sky and the yellows of the lemons and sunrises.  There are cute details to be savored during multiple reads, such as the bird that follows them along and shows up in every page until he comes to the forefront as the one that reunites the friends.  The paper boat they're sailing on is made of newspaper and the little portions that are readable all seem to connect with the theme of a journey ("highway," "three days by foot," "thick vegetation," "trail").  Lovely book to read aloud and sweet tale to read at bedtime.      

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