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Hopper and Wilson
     

Hopper and Wilson

5.0 1
by Maria van Lieshout
 

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"What," Hopper asks his little friend Wilson, "do you think it's like at the end of the world?" Hopper, the blue elephant, imagines a staircase to the moon, while Wilson, the yellow mouse, hopes for an endless supply of lemonade. So the two sail off in a boat made of paper . . . only to discover they already have everything they could wish for in each other, and at

Overview

"What," Hopper asks his little friend Wilson, "do you think it's like at the end of the world?" Hopper, the blue elephant, imagines a staircase to the moon, while Wilson, the yellow mouse, hopes for an endless supply of lemonade. So the two sail off in a boat made of paper . . . only to discover they already have everything they could wish for in each other, and at home. Maria van Lieshout's adorable new picture book tugs at heartstrings, inspires discussion, and reminds us all how good returning home can feel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hopper, a stuffed blue elephant, and his chum Wilson, a yellow mouse, set off in a newspaper boat in search of the end of the world. Hopper goes overboard in a storm, though, and Wilson has to canvass some sea turtles ("I lost my friend Hopper. Have you seen him by chance?"), a penguin ("He's a big guy. Funny ears"), and a "giant fish" (it's a whale) before he and Hopper are reunited. Instead of finding the end of the world and fulfilling their wishes (Wilson wanted lots of lemonade; Hopper wanted to touch the moon), they arrive back at home, tired but satisfied. Van Lieshout (Bloom!), a gifted illustrator, plays up the suspense of the separation with lots of space in the spreads and long waits; even when Wilson receives a clue that Hopper is nearby (the string from his friend's red balloon), Hopper doesn't appear for another two pages. While the underlying message is cautious—Hopper and Wilson's friendship and safety are more important than their dreams—van Lieshout's story is filled with adventure, emotion, and imagery that supplies lots of effervescent warmth. Ages 3–5. (July)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Hopper, an elephant, and Wilson, a mouse, wonder what the end of the world is like. Will there be a staircase to the Moon? An endless supply of lemonade? They bid farewell to their pet cactus and, clasping a shiny red balloon, set sail in a folded-newspaper boat to find out. Their journey is scenic, dreamy, and dramatic; it reaffirms the sailors' friendship and reveals not only the end of the world but also the nature of the quest. Van Lieshout's deft, gentle watercolors bubble out of the fine ink outlines and mingle with one another into subtle, enchanting gradations of tint. Collage pieces like the newspaper boat add texture and depth. Most endearing of all is the portrayal of Hopper and Wilson as well-worn hand-stitched stuffed animals. Their facial expressions and postures delicately convey a vast range of emotions and paint a picture of the love and trust between true friends.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A blue stuffed elephant named Hopper and Wilson, his small mouse friend, sit on a dock looking out at sea. Hopper asks Wilson what he thinks the end of the world is like. Wilson isn't sure. They decide to find out. They pack their red-stringed red balloon, say goodbye to their cactus, and set sail in their newspaper boat. Wishing on a falling star, Hopper hopes to touch the moon, while Wilson wants endless lemonade. After a storm hits them, Wilson finds himself alone in the boat. He asks everyone he encounters about Hopper, in vain. Finally, he follows a bird with a red string to Hopper. The friends embrace happily. When they spot land, however, it's not the end of the world. It's home. They decide that they feel glad that their home is "at the end of the world...And at the beginning!" This naive fantasy is visualized quite simply using "watercolors, ink, collage, colored pencil, crayon, a smudge of acrylics and some technology to pull it all together." The two philosophical adventurers are huggable creatures whose stitching adds to their appeal. There's little need for detail here; touches of paint serve as the wide sea, except for the huge wave that separates the friends. Readers can find a lesson in the story if they choose. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews

Two lumpy stuffed animals pack up a red balloon, wave goodbye to their potted pet cactus and set sail in a paper hat to find the end of the world—a place they hope has enough lemons for an endless supply of lemonade and a staircase to the moon!

Quiet, concise language and poignant watercolor illustrations pull readers into this far-out fable about a friendship between a toy elephant (Hopper) and a yellow mouse (Wilson). Children will immediately like these two funny little guys, whose exposed stitching make them seem both Velveteen and vulnerable. They'll also fall for the book's soothing cadence and rolling rhythms. Simple sentences beat up against gestural artwork like small waves on a ship's bow. Sensitive line work and atmospheric washes of cool colors communicate the depth of Hopper and Wilson's friendship and their shared despair when a storm separates them at sea. A frightening spread of the two caught in mammoth, murky waves causes trembles; a chilling, misty sequence of lonely Wilson calling hoarsely for his buddy brings tears. The reunion is inevitable and immensely moving. Hopper, a small, blurry smudge far, far away, shouts from an entire page of white space, "Wilson, is that you?"

Winsomely ambiguous and otherworldly, this sweet, quirky story offers fantastic footholds for dizzying discussion. (Picture book. 4-12)

From the Publisher
“Children will immediately like these two funny little guys, whose exposed stitching make them seem both Velveteen and vulnerable. They’ll also fall for the book’s soothing cadence and rolling rhythms. . .  Winsomely ambiguous and otherworldly, this sweet, quirky story offers fantastic footholds for dizzying discussion”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Scenic, dreamy, and dramatic . . . conveys a vast range of emotions and paints a picture of the love and trust between true friends.”

—School Library Journal

"This was my (Phil’s) absolute favorite book of the year. I love this book. Erin and I taught a writing workshop this year as a fundraiser. We made sure to read this book aloud to a room of adults as an example of how to write a beautiful book."
—Philip and Erin Stead, author and illustrator of Caldecott-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399251849
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/12/2011
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,151,935
Product dimensions:
10.12(w) x 10.16(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"This was my (Phil’s) absolute favorite book of the year. I love this book. Erin and I taught a writing workshop this year as a fundraiser. We made sure to read this book aloud to a room of adults as an example of how to write a beautiful book."
—Philip and Erin Stead, author and illustrator of Caldecott-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Meet the Author

Maria van Lieshout lives in San Francisco, California.

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Hopper and Wilson 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This touching story is about two friends, Wilson a small yellow mouse and Hopper a blue elephant who wonder what they might find at the end of the world. Hopper dreams of a staircase to the moon, while Wilson dreams about lemonade, lots of lemonade. So the two decide to set sail for the end of the world, but this journey leads to disaster when the two are separated after a large waves throws Hopper out of their paper boat. This trip ends with the realization that everything they need has always been at home: each other. This book is beautifully illustrated, the contrast between the water color and the newspaper boat is striking. The story and artwork are sure to evoke many feelings and great discussion.