Two friends – a hedgehog and a dog – settle down for the night. When the house is asleep, Earl, the hedgehog, announces that he’s leaving – much to his best friend, Buddy’s, chagrin. But wait! After running and running on his exercise wheel, Earl arrives at his destination and discovers that Buddy is there after all! Buddy’s confused, but goes with the flow, and the two go on an adventure that will have parents and kids alike laughing and wondering what their own pets get up to when everyone’s asleep.
Buddy and Earl Go Exploring, by Maureen Fergus/Illustrated by Carey Sookocheff (March 2016, Groundwood Books), $16.95, ISBN: 9781554987146. Recommended for ages 4-8
The second book in the Buddy and Earl series is just as much fun as the first book, and loaded with imagination. Earl sees things differently, through fantastic eyes – Buddy’s water dish becomes a lake; Dad’s referred to as a “hideous ogre”; Mom’s hairbrush is a lovely lady hedgehog – and Buddy is drawn into this wonderful world of adventure. We know that poor Buddy is the fall guy – he’s the Pinky to Earl’s Brain, the dopey friend that blunders along – but we love it. The friends care for each other and watch out for each other, with Buddy providing the muscle and Earl bringing the fantastic.
The art is sweet and appealing, done in acryl gouache on watercolor paper, then assembled in Photoshop, to bring it all together. The story begins with the endpapers, gently drawing readers into the story and giving them one final giggle at the story’s end. Plain black font is unintrusive and makes for an easy read-aloud, and this is a great book for read-alouds. I’d add this to a bedtime story read-aloud or a pet storytime and let the kids tell me what they think their pets do at night!
Buddy and Earl Go Exploring is out in March, but you can pick up the first book in the series, Buddy and Earl, to keep the kids entertained while you wait.