Mine! This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
WILFRED OWNED A MOOSE.
HE HADN'T ALWAYS OWNED A MOOSE. THE MOOSE CAME TO HIME AWHILE AGO, AND HE KNEW, JUST KNEW, THAT IT WAS MEANT TO BE.
HE THOUGHT HE'D CALL IT MARCEL.
But the trouble with meese, er, mooses, uh, moose is that they require some training in being a proper pet.
And Wilfred is just the lad for that. He's a boy for whom rules are a pleasure, not a pain in the patootie. He draws up a list of moose maxims, such as
RULE 1: NO MAKING NOISE WHILE WILFRED IS LISTENING TO HIS RECORD COLLECTION.
Marcel seems to find it amenable to remain mum during music appreciation time, but he absolutely ignores RULE 7.
GO WHICHEVER WAY WILFRED WANTS TO GO.
Marcel is a total scofflaw on that one, and Wilfred finds himself doing more following of Marcel than leading, trekking in his moose's tracks over the mountains and through the woods until he comes to a cottage where a woman runs out the door and greets his moose too enthusiastically:
"RODRIGO! YOU'RE BACK!"
There seems to be a question of ownership here, and Wilfred seems to have lost out to the old woman's apple supply. Marcel ignores him and Wilfred sadly heads back through the wilderness for home. Is this the end of the road for Wilfred and Marcel?
Nope. There's one more rule that Marcel unexpectedly manages to follow:
RULE 73: RESCUE YOUR OWNER FROM PERILOUS SITUATIONS.
If there is a moral to this pet-owner's parable, it is surely that you can't be a master to a moose. But he can be your friend--when he wants to.
Oliver Jeffers latest, This Moose Belongs to Me (Philomel, 2012) abandons his minimalist style in his Stuck or The New Sweater: The Hueys, Book 1 (see my reviews here), choosing instead rather a lavish natural setting of what resembles Rocky Mountain backdrops, with snow-topped peaks and rows of evergreens, while his Wilfred, who somehow resembles a rather stiff and reserved Charlie Brown, tries to impose a rigorous regime upon his unconcerned would-be pet. It is Jeffers' wry approach that makes the absurdity of this tale of a boy and his adopted moose both preposterous and totally natural at the same time.
As Publishers Weekly puts it, "The moose may not belong to Wilfred, but the laughs certainly belong to Jeffers.