In his debut picture book, Berger, a British animator and cartoonist for the Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Guardian newspaper, introduces Bridget, a hyperkinetic and highly imaginative heroine. Yearning for a pet unicorn (she plans to name it Thunderhooves), Bridget is primed to believe that a huge package delivered to her house is that very same animal. After wreaking domestic havoc (she litters the kitchen with Styrofoam peanuts), she's crushed to discover that the package contains only a cuckoo clock-until she spots a ladybug that has hitchhiked on the knickknack. Berger has an animator's eye for action, and his heroine is especially appealing whenever she's in motion (she gets dressed in a whirlwind and races down the stairs accompanied by a truly ripping onomatopoeia, "SPIZZOOOOM!!"). But while Bridget is undeniably pert with her floppy short hairdo and red jumper, as a force of nature she's a bit tame. What's more, readers may find it difficult to believe that this strong-minded girl is truly assuaged by an insect pet-even if the ladybug is "much less skittery than a pet mouse." Ages 3-5. (June)
The multiple layers of interpretation and laugh-out-loud humor set this book apart.
When a "great big box" is delivered to her house, Bridget hopes it is the pet unicorn that she has always wanted; but when she and her toy Captain Cat empty the puffy filling, they find only a small box, from which comes a buzzing noise. Her mother opens the box to reveal a cuckoo clock that Bridget is delighted to call a pet; but she is again disappointed when, from the clock, comes only an animated bird and not the "REAL, LIVE PET" she wanted. A real live ladybug then flies out of the clock. Bridget is enchanted by her new perfect pet ladybug, which is what she decides she has always wanted. Berger's colored drawings are of lively, cartoon-like characters set in monochrome rooms or story-board vignettes. The words are written in speech balloons or are spread across blank backgrounds set in a variety of typefaces to enhance the action. Bridget, an appealing, imaginative character, may give readers wanting pets some new ideas, along with a chuckle. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Bridget Fidget is the timeless cartoon poppet, dreaming, dashing, fussing, laughing, dragging her remarkably expressive stuffed animal everywhere. "Bridget Fidget had always wanted a pet unicorn called Thunderhooves. So when the doorbell rang...she leaped out of bed, put her clothes on, and
raced downstairs with her favorite toy, Captain Cat." The cartoon illustrations, which have a 1950s, Eloise air, are so joyfully kinetic that viewers are left breathless. The child remains hopeful as she tears into a huge delivery box and finds a bunch of "snow" and, finally, a tiny box. When the small box makes a noise, she declares, "It's asleep, Captain Cat! There's a sleepy little secret pet in the box and we need to WAKE IT UP!" The trouble she gets into, the tantrums, and the arrival of her perfect pet seem natural, and surprising. Every layout has enough pizzazz to stand on its own. But nothing stands still in the world of Bridget Fidget: the whirlwind of a 200-percent-awake small girl in a red dress and shoes catches up characters, scenery, and readers.- Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Bridget Fidget desperately wants a pet unicorn to name Thunderhooves, so when a giant box arrives downstairs marked "Fragile" (or, as she imagines, "Here's your new pet!") she dives right in, spreading Styrofoam pellets ("snow") all over the house. It's just a small box inside, though, so she wishfully thinks it must be a pet mouse. When she finally discovers it's a cuckoo clock, she is a little disappointed...until a real live ladybug flies out of it: "Bridget called her ladybug Thunderhooves. It was the perfect name for the perfect pet for her." British cartoonist Berger's vivacious drawings of the monomaniacal Bridget and her super-chic parents are thoroughly charming, and the varied, artfully designed spreads buzz with life, speech bubbles, motion squiggles and sound effects ("SPIZZOOOOM!") while still managing to look clean and inviting. Bridget's hopeful nature is endearing, her thoughtful considerations ("It might NOT be a penguin") amusing. Familiar waters, sure, but it's the rare child who doesn't dream of having his or her very own Thunderhooves. (Picture book. 4-8)