Where's Walrus is a new wordless picture book from illustrator Stephen Savage, published by Scholastic Press. We got our hands on a copy and were easily won over by its clean, retro style graphics, attractive color palette, and cunning marine mammal protagonist.
It's a slow and sleepy day at the zoo when Walrus decides to slip from his small water tank and skedaddle out of the zoo's open gate. The zookeeper gives chase and Walrus evades capture, disguising himself along the way by assuming the appropriate poses and befitting headgear of various urbanites. He wears a fedora at a lunch counter; a hard hat among a crew of bricklayers; dons a beret amidst a group of painters in Central Park; and sports a feathered headdress in a lineup of cancan dancers. Walrus is eventually apprehended when he loses his swimming cap after performing a somersaulting high-platform dive for which he receives wild cheers from the audience and is awarded a gold medal. This gets the zookeeper thinking. And in the end Walrus is back in the zoo happily drawing crowds as he executes dives into an upgraded swimming pool.
Finding the elusive walrus on each double-spread page isn't particularly challenging. The book's real charm is in the visual gag of seeing the walrus' efforts to blend into various city scenes.
My three year old is a sucker for all manner of hats, so that aspect of the story really appealed to him. And both of us felt the same about our favorite moment in the book - the look of contentment on the walrus' face after he completes his dive and plunges into familiar waters.
For me, I liked the crisp, bold, minimal-style graphics, and ultimately the larger message of the book: trying on different hats until you find something you love to do.
Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage, $11.89
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