VIKING   *   ILLUSTRATED BY LISA MC CUE   *   ISBN 0-670-03602-1

Flap copy: Cork is a muskrat.  Fuzz is a possum.  Cork eats only veggie stuff.  Fuzz eats beetles and worms.  Cork likes to play hide-and-seek.  Fuzz likes to play find-and-eat.  Cork and Fuzz have nothing in common.  Or do they?  With gentle humor and charming illustrations, this easy-to-read story is perfect for children who are learning to read on their own.

Behind the scenes: This first book in a series of Cork and Fuzz easy-to-read stories introduces two characters who are so different from each other in personality.  Cork is level-headed and a straight-forward-guy, but a bit naive.  Fuzz, in contrast, is wacky and unpredictable.  My inspiration for these characters came from the enjoyment I received in being entertained by other odd couple pairs~ Desi and Lucy, Abbot and Costello, and Martin and Lewis. It was often one straight man, and one cut-up, and the two personalities played off each other. The Cork and Fuzz characters developed so strongly in my mind that it was just a matter of plopping them down in the middle of an everyday situation, then sitting back to watch what happened. Often the results even surprised me!

School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–Cork and Fuzz, a muskrat and a possum, meet and discover that they have nothing in common. One eats beetles and the other eats "veggie stuff"; one loves the water and the other can't float. They are both bored, however, and each is looking for a friend. Their attempts to find a shared activity are gently comical and ultimately successful. Young readers will empathize with the challenge of making friends with someone who has different tastes and interests. The story's repeated words and entire sentences will help beginning readers feel successful. McCue's endearing drawings add personality and humor to the animals' faces. An excellent addition to easy-reader collections.–Kathleen Meulen, Blakely Elementary School, Bainbridge Island, WA Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 

Kirkus Starred Review
In this droll take on the evergreen theme of unlikely friendships, a small, lonely muskrat and a newly met, considerably larger possum search gamely for common ground. At first, it doesn't look good: Cork loves water and veggies, while Fuzz is into bugs and dry land; Fuzz gives Cork a scare by playing dead, then inadvertently sticks him with a thorn during an attempted game of pin-the-tail-on-the-turtle. Frizzed-up appealingly in McCue's finely inked natural scenes, the two make expressive, recognizably childlike figures that will have young readers rooting for them to find a way-as indeed they do, after discovering a mutual love for collecting interesting pebbles. The comical contrast between Cork's steady seriousness and Fuzz's daffy streak-" 'Are you a duck?' Fuzz asked. 'Ducks go cork! cork!' 'Ducks do not go cork! cork!' Cork said. 'Ducks go quack! quack!' "-adds even more animation to this budding friendship. Readers will hope for sequels. 

Children's Literature
When Cork, the Muskrat and Fuzz, the Possum meet, they do not have anything in common—or do they? Soon readers find out that Cork likes to eat veggies and Fuzz likes to eat critters, Cork loves to swim and Fuzz is scared of water. A fun, slap-stick style humor is depicted and in the end, readers discover that the two unlikely animals have more in common than seemed possible. Simple, short, easy-to-read text moves the tale along in this 32-page book. Pages are filled with detailed illustrations that offer clues to the text. Many words are one syllable; this allows early readers to succeed. The book is a Level 3 book in the "Viking Easy-to-Read" series. As such, it is geared for 6- to 9-year-old readers in grades 1 to 3. Readers at this stage are able to read the text alone and that is what they will want to do with this delightful story about Cork and Fuzz. Nancy Garhan Attebury

Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Review
Cork the muskrat is bored; in fact he is so bored that he decides to yell down an empty log to hear his own echo. Then his echo does something odd – it answers back. In fact it is not the log that is talking, it is a possum called Fuzz who replies to Cork’s words, a possum who likes to eat bugs. Cork thinks that bugs are dreadful. He likes to eat cattails, roots and seeds; “veggie stuff” Fuzz sniffs in disgust. In fact it soon appears that the two animals really don’t have much in common. Fuzz hates water while Cork loves it, Fuzz eats bugs while Cork eats only eats vegetarian foods. When they try to play together they end up either frightening each other or sticking each other with thorns. Their games are not a success. Surely these two animals cannot find a common ground. Then Fuzz shares a little secret with Cork and they discover something very interesting about one another. This funny, charming early reader will delight children who are new to reading. There is no doubt that Cork and Fuzz are a wonderfully loveable pair and through them we can see that even the most different kinds of creatures will find that they have something that they can share with one another. Delightful illustrations capture the characters of Fuzz and Cork, bringing them to life in all their furry and funny ways.

Reader Review on Amazon
What a great new duo! This four-chapter book introduces kids to Cork (a muskrat) and Fuzz (an opossum). As with any new friends who have just met, the two begin to learn things about each other -- what they like to eat, and whether or not they like to be in water. Once they've compared a few differences, it's time for fun. Should they play hide-and-seek or find-and-eat? How about pin-the-tail-on-the-turtle? And just what is Fuzz hiding under the pointed leaf? Before the book is over, they discover that they have at least one common interest. That's all their friendship needs to keep it going. Lisa McCue's illustrations are wonderful and perfectly fit the playful mood of the storyline. Her depictions are reminiscent of the classics done by Garth Williams, as two-dimensional animal fur looks soft enough to touch. And author Dori Chaconas has thoughtfully chosen two main character critters that many people cannot tell apart. Therein lies the teachable moment. Here's hoping for much success as this episode launches a new series. Cork and Fuzz deserve to share many future adventures together!





© 2006 Dori Chaconas