Mr. Morf is a circus dog who walks the high wire every night. He’s very good at his job, but he’s lonely—everyone in the circus has someone to love except for him. So he sets off in search of a companion, but none of the animals he encounters is quite right. Penelope the swallow is leaving on holiday, a friendly lady pig wouldn’t be able to manage the high wire, and a wolf would rather eat him than be friends. Mr. Morf sadly returns to the circus alone, only to succumb to a mysterious fit of tickling. When its source is finally revealed, Mr. Morf finds he has a very unusual but loyal new friend. Beautiful, whimsical illustrations complement this humorous, offbeat story about the search for love.
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Carll Cneut is the illustrator of many beloved and award-winning books in Europe. He is also the illustrator of ANTONIO ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD, GETTING SMALLER, published in the U.S. by Candlewick. He lives in Ghent, Belgium.From School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 2-Mr. Morf, a circus dog who has been tightrope walking since puppyhood, suddenly grows sick with loneliness, packs up his bone-shaped traveling case, and sets off to find someone to love. Sadly, everyone he encounters seems somehow unsuitable, from a migrating swallow to a bonneted wolf. Brokenhearted, Mr. Morf returns to the circus alone, only to find himself suddenly struck by a bad case of the tickly giggles, the source of which turns out to be the lovely Isabella, a sweet little flea who agrees to become Mr. Morf's true and lasting friend. It is the delightfully offbeat acrylic-and-pastel illustrations that distinguish this picture book, a combination of whimsical animals, pleasing patterns, delicate lines, and eccentric angles. The pages are not large enough to contain the lively antics of piggy-faced Mr. Morf and his colorful cohorts who juggle and balance and fly about under the Big Top. By contrast, Mr. Morf's journey leads him through some very lonely terrain, where large empty spaces convey the fruitlessness of his search. The art far outshines the text, which reaches for whimsy but seems weighed down with wordy earnestness and a rather abrupt ending. Still, there is something to love about Mr. Morf, not the least of which is his belief in the possibility of finding a true friend.
Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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