Odyssey: Hopper and Wilson by Maria Van Lieshout
HOPPER AND WILSON LOOKED OUT OVER THE BLUE SEA.
"WHAT" HOPPER ASKED HIS LITTLE FRIEND WILSON, "DO YOU THINK IT'S LIKE AT THE END OF THE WORLD?"
"WELL, THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT, "HOPPER SAID.
Since Christopher Robin's beloved toys, Piglet and Pooh, set out to find the Heffalump, there have been many pairs of pals on their own quests. Marian Van Lieshout's new Hopper and Wilson (Philomel, 2011) captures that same primal childlike desire to set forth and discover what's out there in their vast world.
Hopper, a rotund two-toned blue elephant, and his sidekick Wilson, a big-eared yellow mouse, are a delightful couple of innocents abroad as they sail off into their folded newspaper boat, a jaunty balloon on a red string in hand, to find their own dreams: for Wilson the end is simply all the lemonade he wants, but for Hopper, who dreams big, it is to touch the moon.
But in the best tradition of such adventures, things don't go as planned.. The breezes turns to gusts, and the gusts become a storm. Their red balloon is blown away, and a giant wave washes Hopper overboard. Wilson, tiny and rudderless, drifts along, all alone, until he hears something that lifts his heart.
"WILSON? IS THAT YOU?"
A rotund shape, floating on a familiar red balloon comes into view, and the two shipmates are reunited, wet, but none the worse for wear. And then they see just what they seek. The moon rises on the horizon right in front of them, close enough, it seems, to touch and looking like a very big lemon. And then they see their own little pier with their little cactus plant standing watch right where they had left it.
"AREN'T WE LUCKY THAT OUR HOME IS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, WILSON?"
WILSON CLOSED HIS EYES. "AND AT THE BEGINNING, TOO," HE PEEPED.
A simple story of a cosmic odyssey, illustrated with Van Lieshout's soft old-fashioned illustrations gives this toy story a certain satisfying depth and poignancy in a gentle tale of setting forth, and as all odysseys should, of coming home.