Written and Illustrated by Stephen Savage
Scholastic Press, 2011
The plot in a nutshell: A walrus has a grand adventure.
Walrus notices that the zoo gates are open and the zookeeper is napping, so he makes a break for it. He hides in a fountain, posing as a statue and the zookeeper walks right by. The zookeeper also misses him when he hides out in a diner and a clothing store window. Walrus puts on a hard hat and helps out with some construction work, throws on a fireman’s hat to help put out a fire and puts a plume on his head to join the can-can dancers in a local theater. He paints pictures by a river and then finds himself on a diving board during an exhibition. The zookeeper is there to see him do an amazing dive that scores five perfect 10’s and the audience goes wild. Walrus wins a gold medal and the zookeeper has a diving board installed at the zoo, so that Walrus can perform for the zoo guests (and have more fun than he was before).
Author/illustrator Stephen Savage took a really simple concept and makes so much fun out of it. On the opening pages, Walrus is winking at the reader, almost as if he’s pulling us into his secret plan to escape from the very beginning. It wasn’t until the second read-through that I realized that he was putting on a different hat in every scene, which served as a cool symbol of him trying a wide variety of things on his big adventure. The book is wordless, so the pictures, done in Adobe Ilustrator, carry the full story. The art style is simple and blocky, with bold lines and solid colors. I thought Walrus was an adorable character. I loved following his story and was pleased to see that a sequel, Where’s Walrus? And Penguin?, was released this year.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that if you sometimes have to try on lots of different hats to find the one that works best for you.