by Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
Buddy the dog and Earl the hedgehog from Buddy and Earl (Groundwood Books, 2015) are back and this time the fast friends are on the move. Okay, they stay in the house but there’s so much to explore in their home, especially when everyone is asleep. And it all starts with Earl declaring a simple “Bon voyage” when they should be settling down to sleep.
Earl is essentially a Zen-kind of traveller, going “Wherever the road leads me” and “However long it takes” (pg. 8), but he’s surprised when his fast and furious running leads him nowhere, having never left the wheel in his cage. Everything changes when somehow Earl gets Buddy to go exploring with him.
Everything is new and, in the imaginative mind of the little hedgehog, something to be investigated. Their first stop is “a silvery lake in the shadow of a great mountain” (pg. 15) a.k.a. Buddy’s water bowl and the garbage pail, where Earl enjoys a lazy soak while Buddy discovers some tasty leftovers in the can he upturned. But spotting a hairbrush in Mom’s purse, Earl sees a lady hedgehog in the jaws of a monster and enlists Buddy’s largesse to save his sweetie from being devoured. Reciprocating, because that’s what friends do, Earl stands up to a monster of Buddy’s world, the vacuum cleaner.
With declarations of friendship and heroism, the two finally settle down amidst the mayhem of their night’s exploration with a resounding “Bon soir.”
Maureen Fergus again offers up the unlikely friends as a story of contrasts: the little hedgehog with the massive imagination and courage to see outside his box, and the tall dog with the staid attitude of familiarity who understands more about the real world and still goes along with his prickly friend. Buddy and Earl Go Exploring is a sweet tale of travels to new worlds without ever leaving home. The simplicity of their friendship and endeavours are balanced with the unfussy illustrations of Carey Sookocheff who also provided the artwork for Buddy and Earl. Carey Sookocheff has created the ideal representations of the two animals in their physical appearances and their manners–petite and large, bold and cautious–and completed Maureen Fergus’ textual characters in such a way that the two will always be recognizable. There’s Stella and Sam, Max and Ruby, and Frog and Toad, and now there’s Buddy and Earl.
From Buddy and Earl Go Exploring
by Maureen Fergus, illus. by Carey Sookocheff (pg. 30)
Nota Bene: More adventures to come, starting with Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby in August, 2016.