Review: Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage
Simple gets a bum rap. Simple is difficult. Simple is complicated. Take picture books. When a story is boiled down to 32 pages and even fewer illustrations, there is no room for error. And if the text is removed? We’re talking a tightrope walk’s worth of difficulty. A book can flounder, or in the much rarer instance, succeed in a manner that makes the whole thing seem like no sweat. Such is the case with Stephen Savage’s delightful Where’s Walrus?. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone immune to the considerable charms of this wordless picture book. Young readers will flock.
When an open gate allows Walrus to escape from his tank, the zookeeper searches high and low to find him. Each two-page spread highlights a different location – water fountain, storefront, restaurant, etc. Each time Walrus humorously blends into the surroundings to evade capture. But when the zookeeper finally finds his escaped charge delighting an audience with amazing high-platform dives, Walrus returns to the zoo – this time as the featured attraction.
The illustrations are the definition of retro bold – simple and clear. White space plays an important role, focusing the reader’s attention and allowing Where’s Walrus? to work well at read-aloud distance.
Where’s Walrus? is a crowd-pleasing testament to the beauty of simple. Be sure to add this to your shelf.
Watch the Where’s Walrus? book trailer:
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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