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THE LA-DI-DA HARE by J. Patrick Lewis


by J. Patrick Lewis & illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-689-31925-8
Publisher: Atheneum

Clever wordplay and a marvelous island bestiary distinguish this rhymed wonder quest from Lewis (Black Swan/White Crow, 1995, etc.). Mouse suggests to Honeypot Bear that they set sail for the magical Island of Oh, ``to hear the applause of the Red Lobster claws/For the beautiful La-di-da Hare.'' Honeypot Bear obliges by becoming their boat, Mouse navigates (``Honey! Bear right!'') and takes the honorary title of Commodore, and when they reach Oh, La-di-da Hare welcomes them lavishly: She decks them out in Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirts, and cool designer shades, then rustles up some deli sandwiches for the whole island crowd. The Crocodile accepts a pastrami on rye, Oyster and Blue-clawed Crab tuck into deviled eggs and dill pickles, ``And who prefers a pat of peanut/Butter on a bun?/The Owls sat think-blinking that/Might do. `Yoo-whoo!' said one.'' La-di-da Hare convinces the two to remain forever, ``For animal crackers,/And wheels of bleu cheese- -/And a bungalow, boys,/For as long as you please!'' They are persuaded, and remain there to this day. It's a good subversive touch—let's have none of that home-in-time-for-tea stuff. Bluthenthal's animated illustrations are an excellent complement, in beachcombing colors of sand and surf, convincing in the depiction of a place awash in fresh, salt breezes. (Picture book. 6-9)