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5.0 1
by Chris Riddell

A big rock. Some slimy seaweed. An old shoe. None of these is quite what Platypus wants for his special collection. Then he finds a beautiful curly shell—perfect! But the next morning his curly shell is gone. Where can it be?
The star of a brand new series from acclaimed author-illustrator Chris Riddell, the thoughtful, lively, and always curious


A big rock. Some slimy seaweed. An old shoe. None of these is quite what Platypus wants for his special collection. Then he finds a beautiful curly shell—perfect! But the next morning his curly shell is gone. Where can it be?
The star of a brand new series from acclaimed author-illustrator Chris Riddell, the thoughtful, lively, and always curious Platypus is a wonderful companion for every young child.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Riddell's (illus. of Something Else) spunky hero has a bill the size of a clown's shoe and a comic case of the collecting bug. In one of the book's many crisp and austerely composed watercolors, Platypus proudly displays the contents of his big green collecting box: a blue sneaker, an acorn, marbles, a bottle cap, etc. a collection to be envied in any child's estimation. Yet something is missing. "He didn't know quite what he was looking for," writes Riddell as he sends Platypus down to the beach on a quest, "but he was sure he'd know it when he saw it." A beautiful shell seems to be just the ticket, except that it won't stay put: two tiny eyes and a single claw poke out of the green box as Platypus sleeps, and the next morning the shell is gone. The same thing happens when Platypus reclaims the shell. The reason, Platypus discovers, is that the shell already belongs to someone a hermit crab. Youngsters in the throes of a hoarding phase will sympathize with the hero (who sleeps with a tiny stuffed toy platypus), while Riddell's well-paced plotting makes the mystery and the resolution equally enticing. Happily, a second Platypus title is scheduled for next season. Ages 2-5. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Platypus, like most youngsters, loves to collect things. On this day he wanders to the seashore to find something very special that will be the perfect addition to his precious collection. Though he searches all day, between eating and playing breaks, nothing seems to be just right. That is, until he stumbles upon a very pretty, curly shell. Platypus has never seen such a shell. To him, it seems just perfect. Platypus takes the shell home but after the shell disappears, is re-discovered, disappears and is discovered again, Platypus finds that things are not always as simple they seem. Children will love the adorable, playful Platypus and his curious innocence. They will also easily appreciate his enthusiasm for collecting things. All the while, they will be learning to respect the environment and that which does not belong to them. With simple clean illustrations, the focus is kept on Platypus. This mom would love to see more of Platypus in the future. 2001, Harcourt,
— Trina Heidt
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Platypus is a sturdy, cheerful character whose simple adventures reflect childhood interests. In the mood to add to his this-and-that collection, which already includes an old shoe, an acorn, and several marbles, he wanders down to the seashore, bucket in hand. He finds the perfect shell, but is mystified when it keeps disappearing from his "special box." Young readers who have been paying attention to the pictures won't be surprised to discover that the hermit crab that lives within it is trying to get back to the sea. Riddell slips in a gentle ecological message as Platypus realizes his mistake and quickly puts the shell back where he found it. Luckily, another one, quite uninhabited, turns up, so the collector manages to add something special after all. This charming picture book should appeal especially to fans of Mick Inkpen's "Kipper" (Harcourt). While Riddell's story features a bit more text, his use of white space echoes Inkpen's work and keeps readers' attention squarely on his appealing character. The watercolor and black-ink illustrations have a soft, bright palette and simple, uncluttered style that extend the humor and charm of the tale. Platypus's perplexed expression when he tries to take a sand castle home is understated but amusing. As odd and unfamiliar as he may look, this duckbill will seem like an old friend to most young listeners.- Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Riddell (Rabbit's Wish, 2001, etc.) reaches out to the preschool set in this charming environmental primer. The journey begins when Platypus, an avid collector, sets out to the seashore to find something special. When a "large curly shell" turns up in his bucket, Platypus thinks he's hit the jackpot. He goes home and puts the shell in his special box. Riddell's crisp watercolor illustration, finely accented in black ink, stands out against the stark white page as Platypus falls asleep under a blue-and-white striped blanket; behind him, two little eyes and a claw push the lid off the bright green box. When Platypus wakes up, his shell is gone. " ‘Oh dear . . . I will have to find a new shell for my collection,' " says Platypus. But when the second shell goes missing, Platypus is perplexed. Riddell pictures the big-billed hero soaking his feet in "his favorite thinking place." On the next page, Platypus looks aghast when a hermit crab latches on to his toe. " ‘Oh,' said Platypus to the little crab. ‘I'm sorry. If I had known the curly shell was your home, I never would have collected it.' " Final illustrations show Platypus returning the hermit crab to the beach, then checking another shell for signs of life before taking it home. Well-known as a political cartoonist, Riddell conveys his message subtly and with good humor. (Picture book. 2-5)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Platypus Series
Edition description:
1ST U. S.
Product dimensions:
9.63(w) x 9.38(h) x (d)
Age Range:
2 - 3 Years

Meet the Author

CHRIS RIDDELL has illustrated many acclaimed picture books, including Something Else, which won the UNESCO Award for Children's books. He is also a renowned political cartoonist whose work has been featured in the Observer, the Economist, and the Independent. Mr. Riddell lives in Brighton, England.

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Platypus 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought the British edition of Platypus for my two year old daughter for Christmas. She has yet to tire of hearing the story of Platypus's search for something new for his collection. I recommend it highly. The pictures of Platypus are cute and definitely part of the appeal.