Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the spirit of her Sophie and Lou, Mathers captivates readers with this unorthodox oceanside outing starring two charming feathered friends. As Lottie, a chicken, prepares for a picnic with her duck pal Herbie, a package arrives: a red-and-white polka-dotted beach towel sent by Aunt Mattie, who thought it "might come in handy." Aunt Mattie was right: by day's end the towel has, among other things, helped Lottie carry her ice cooler across the burning sand ("Hop off the towel onto the cooler. Towel, cooler, off, on... all the way down to the water"), served as a sail for Herbie's boat and provided a stylish if unconventional headdress for a bride whose veil has blown away. That night Lottie sits down to write the thank-you note to end all thank-you notes, while the towel dries on a clothesline under a starlit indigo sky. Mathers paints a portrait of a winsome heroine characterized by unflagging practical resourcefulness and bursts of romantic inspiration. She achieves this end through the expert crafting of a low-key yet humorous text and droll art. For example, in a double-spread of four panels, Mathers depicts Lottie when she first reaches the beach and challenges a wave; then as the wave sweeps her up so that only her feet show, next in a barrage of bubbles and finally the discombobulated chicken says, "Is that my foot? Silly me, it's a starfish." Mathers builds pleasingly uncluttered compositions with simple lines, flat perspectives and bright colors, using detail sparingly but whimsically (after lunch Mattie knits a lime-green three-toed sock). A sunny, summery book that captures the feel of a long, eventful day at the beach, and one that will be remembered for many seasons to come. Ages 3-8. (June)
(PW best book of 1998)
Children's Literature - Karen Porter
Lottie is a chicken who receives a beach towel from her aunt as she is getting ready to go on a picnic with her friend. Lottie runs into many problems on her picnic and uses her towel to solve each of them. For example, when the motor on the boat stops working, the beach towel is used as a sail. The story is told in part by detailed pictures of Lottie and her adventures. Though it is an attractive book, it is unlikely to become a favorite. Topics in the book, including the making of lemonade from scratch and a wedding, are beyond the reach of very young children, as is the cursive writing used for a letter from Lottie's aunt.
School Library Journal
PreS-KUnlike Janet Stoeke's charmingly foolish Minerva Louise, Lottie is neither cuddly nor befuddled. Instead, she is a quirky character, full of creative ideas. In fact, this quick-thinking chicken finds many uses for the bright beach towel her Aunt Mattie sent as a gift. She walks on the polka-dotted towel to keep her feet from burning on the sand, uses it as a sail when her friend Herbie's motorboat conks out, and offers to lend it to an unhappy bride who has lost her veil. She ends the day by writing to tell Aunt Mattie of all her unexpected adventures. Mathers's own quirky sense of humor is readily apparent in the clever illustrations and deadpan delivery. Observant readers will be amused by Lottie's knitting (she's making socks-shaped for chicken feet) and by Herbie's voracious appetite (he consumes at least three pieces of wedding cake). They'll also be impressed by Lottie's ability to make the best of a bad situation. The back cover suggests that Lottie, like Minerva Louise, may eventually appear in more than one picture book. Her reappearance will be eagerly anticipated by those who enjoy this low-key yet engaging offering.Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
On an outing with her friend, Herbieþa duckþa resourceful hen named Lottie finds multiple uses for her new polka-dot towel: on a hot beach, under a picnic, as a sail for a boat with a conked-out motor, and even in a wedding, when a sea breeze blows the bride's veil away. Combining quick wit with a broad streak of daffiness (" `Is that my foot? Silly me, it's a starfish' "), Lottie will win readers over instantly, and the sparely drawn and colored panels capture her vivacious charm perfectly. Move over, Minerva Louise (Minerva Louise at School, 1996, etc.). (Picture book. 5-7)