Warton and the Traders

Our rating: ****½

Warton sets off once again to visit his Aunt Toolia, this time to deliver some canned goods. On the way, he meets two woodrats and helps them escape from a wildcat. The woodrats tell Warton that they live in The Bogs and that the wildcat had been plaguing their colony for several days. When he arrives at his aunt’s house, Warton finds that Aunt Toolia has been missing for some time and, with the help of a whippoorwill, finds her in the the dangerous Bogs caring for an injured fawn. Knowing that two small toads cannot possibly cart enough food for such a large animal, Warton leaves to locate the colony of woodrats and enlist their help. But the woodrats insist that everything be a trade, and Warton has nothing to offer in return for their help in feeding the fawn—unless he can find some way to get rid of the wildcat.

Warton and the Traders is perfect for younger readers who want more than a short picture book, but it is written in a way that appeals to the older crowd as well. The story is well-told, amusing and has no objectionable material. Warton and the Traders is part of a series about Warton and Morton, the first being A Toad for Tuesday, with the others following in no particular order.

A Toad for Tuesday

Our rating: ****

Warton and Morton are two toads that live underground together. One day in the middle of winter, Warton decides to take Morton’s wonderful beetle brittle to their Aunt Toolia. Morton tries to talk his brother out of the idea. Warton insists, saying that he’ll wear several sweaters and will travel with skis. Finally, Warton sets out. Later that day, he meets a field mouse who says that an owl lives in the woods where Warton will be traveling. This owl hunts by day instead of by night. Since Warton still wants to deliver his beetle brittle, the mouse gives him a scarf and offers the help of several friends if Warton gets in trouble. Once in the woods, Warton is captured by the owl to be eaten on the owl’s birthday. Warton has only five days to plan an escape.

A Toad for Tuesday is the first book in a series about Warton and Morton. Part of the ending is hinted at during the story so it isn’t a complete surprise, but it still makes a good end to an imaginative story. The horde of skiing mice may generate a few chuckles. This book is longer and a bit more complicated than the traditional picture book, making it an enjoyable choice for younger readers in general or for older readers who want a good quick read.