Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this charming, sweetly illustrated debut picture book, home was "such a perfect place to be that Puddle never wanted to go anywhere else. Toot, on the other hand, loved to take trips." So in January when Toot goes on his "biggest trip ever," Puddle happily stays home to enjoy the snow and go ice-skating. What follows is a kind of piggy calendar as Toot's monthly postcards are juxtaposed with illustrations of Puddle's homespun activities. Toot writes, "Egypt is awesome. The pyramids are the greatest. Wish you could meet me at the oasis," and Puddle back home wishes "Toot were there to taste the pancakes." When Toot returns home in December, Puddle salutes Toot's "adventures around the world," and Toot drinks to Puddle's "adventures right at home." Although the story at times seems to oscillate between a traditional story narrative (e.g., "Yes, Puddle missed his friend") to a text that occasionally resembles picture labels (e.g.,"Meanwhile... presenting Puddle at Pocket Pond!"), the parallel stories highlight seasonal activities familiar to children (and tourist spots familiar to adults). Hobbie's detailed watercolors are reminiscent of Helen Oxenbury or Lynn Munsinger, crammed with clever and humorous details (e.g., a mountain ram crowding out a Mont Blanc-climbing Toot). Children will be reassured by the message that friends can have different interests and still enjoy one another. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
In a charming story, best friends Toot and Puddle show their young readers that friends don't always share the same interests, but can still remain good friends. Toot loves to travel, and Puddle loves to stay home. When he decides to go on his biggest trip ever, he invites Puddle to join him. But Puddle prefers to have his adventures at home. The balance of the text consists of Toot's postcards describing his adventures all around the world juxtaposed with Puddle's adventures at home. Hobbie's warm and detailed illustrations bring the different experiences of the characters to life and provide children with plenty of elements to spend hours pouring over the illustrations. The message of the text is that there is no better choicehome and abroad each have their own charms. Real friends enjoy each other and hearing about their adventures. But what will happen when Toot returns? Can the two friends regain their close friendship after such different experiences? Young readers, and the adults who will be reading to them, will enjoy finding out.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1--Footloose Toot and stay-at-home Puddle are two winsome pigs whose friendship gives credence to the motto "Vive la Difference." When January arrives, Toot decides it's time to see the world; Puddle, on the other hand, finds his delights in the familiarity of Woodcock Pocket. Through a series of postcards, readers follow Toot as he splashes with hippos in Kenya and frolics with penguins in Antarctica. Meanwhile, Puddle enjoys the correspondence but derives his satisfaction from simple domestic pleasures. At year's end, they reunite and celebrate the comfort of their very own beds in companionable bliss. In only a sentence or two per page and through the terse but telling postcards, Hobbie perfectly captures these porcine personalities. With Toot on one page and Puddle opposite, the variously sized watercolors appealingly convey their simultaneous activities and include many witty details--some sophisticated enough to charm adults sharing this story aloud. Best used one-on-one or by beginning readers, this year's worth of adventures large and small will entertain young armchair travelers and homebodies alike.--Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ
The activities of a homebody and an enthusiastic world traveler are contrasted in illustrations brimming with humor.
Two anthropomorphic pigs live in the country setting of Woodcock Pocket. There, Puddle turns his head to the sun streaming in his kitchen window as he makes popcorn on the stove. Meanwhile, Toot peers at the globe with a magnifying glass, planning an ambitious trip. He asks Puddle along, but goes forth alone, and from then on, the experiences of the two are laid side by side on the double-page spreads. A monthly postcard from Toot is reproduced over an illustration from his year-long adventure (scaling cliffs in the Alps, visiting an Italian pastry shop, taking a camel ride through Egypt, etc.), and a sort of reply comes from a scene of Puddle savoring events on the home front: gathering maple sap for syrup, playing in spring mud, painting a self-portrait, or trying out a Halloween mask. In Hobbie's expert watercolors are dozens of inventive touchesPuddle wearing a shower cap in the bath, Toot floating among hippos, some of his limbs breaking the surface in a subtle mimicry of their stances, funny allusions to famous art or locales; the book and its heroes are endearing, and readers will want to see more of Woodcock Pocket soon.