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Dear Peter Rabbit

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Reminiscent of Janet and Allan Ahlberg's hugely successful The Jolly Postman , this clever picture book creates a fictitious flurry of correspondence between such familiar characters as Goldilocks (here given the surname McGregor, with a wink and a nod to Beatrix Potter), the Three Pigs, Baby Bear, Red Riding Hood and Peter Rabbit. As the plot thickens (will Goldilocks make a return visit to the Bears' house? Will Peter Rabbit be well enough to attend the Three Pigs' housewarming party?), Ada inventively weaves together the criss-crossing letters, neatly tying up the loose ends with a finale wherein the entire assembly (except for the now-tailless wolf) shows up for Goldilocks's birthday party. Ada clearly had fun extrapolating the characters' private lives, and her sunny treatment finds ready companionship in Tryon's delicately colored, lovingly detailed pen-and-ink and watercolor art. A Spanish edition, Querido Pedrin , is being issued simultaneously. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)

PreS-Gr 3-A series of lively letters penned by beloved storybook characters tells an entertaining and imaginative tale. As the Big Bad Wolf lurks just out of sight, Pig One writes to Peter Rabbit, inviting him to a housewarming party at his newly built straw house. Meanwhile, Baby Bear sends Goldilocks a note asking her to visit, admonishing her to ``knock on the door first before you come in.'' In reply, Goldilocks McGregor writes about vegetables missing from the garden and the ``tiny jacket'' and ``tiniest pair of shoes'' found by her father. Peter sends his regrets to Pig One; he caught cold while hiding from Mr. McGregor in a ``half-full'' watering can. Not to worry, due to uncontrollable circumstances the party will take place at Stick House at a later date. The chatty correspondence continues, culminating in a birthday party that brings the characters face to face. Carefully weaving together the lives of these literary favorites into a seamless plot, Ada uses familiar elements to create a convincing and intriguing make-believe world. In addition to being fun to read, the letters move events along quickly and create a unique voice for each author. Tyron's inviting illustrations, rendered in pen and ink with watercolors, add both detail and dimension. Whether author or recipient is depicted, the pictures include and expand on the contents of each letter. Drawings of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor are appropriately reminiscent of Beatrix Potter's originals. Children will be enchanted by this opportunity to meet familiar faces in new settings.-Joy Fleishhacker, New York Public Library

"An entertaining and imaginative tale...children will be enchanted." -- "School Library Journal, " starred review

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