The Collectors

VIKING  *  ILLUSTRATED BY LISA MC CUE  *  ISBN 978-0-670-06286-7

Flap copy: Cork is a short muskrat who likes to collect shiny stones. Fuzz is a tall possum who also likes to collect shiny stones. Fuzz tries to collect a "stone" from a duck's nest, and in turn, the mama duck decides to collect Fuzz. Will Cork be able to save his friend?

The humorous story and warm illustrations in this fourth Cork and Fuzz easy-to-read title are sure to collect fans with each new adventure.


Gr 1-3–In this fourth installment in the series, Cork (a muskrat) and Fuzz (a possum) are looking for shiny stones to add to their collections. Fuzz wraps a feather (from his feather collection) on his tail and begins sweeping away dirt, hoping to uncover some treasures. As they work their way down to the pond, Cork finds some pretty green stones. While they study them, the “stones” begin to hatch. They are soon surrounded by ducklings, and Mother Duck is not far behind. With the feather in his tail, Fuzz is mistaken for one of her babies and she pushes him into her nest and sits on him. It is up to Cork to find a way to free his friend and, accidentally, he does just that. As the story ends, readers watch the “two best friends, collecting laughs all the way home.” These buddies are at their silly, illogical best, charming readers with their friendly competitiveness. This book is targeted at newly independent readers and has appropriately challenging words like “feather” and “whispered.” The text flows smoothly and remains entertaining throughout. Delightful pen-and-watercolor illustrations offer plenty of context clues. Teachers will find this title a perfect choice for reading groups.–Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME


The fourth easy-to-read chapter book about Cork, the short muskrat, and Fuzz, the tall possum, once again tells a warm story about best friends who are different and sometimes scrappy, but still like each other and have lots of fun. In this book, the "stones" Fuzz collects hatch into ducklings, and the feather he has causes big mother duck to drag him to her nest. Cork, of course, comes to the rescue. McCue's clear, lovely line-and-watercolor pictures show the mischievous, furry friends sometimes a little tense, but still "collecting laughs all the way home."---Hazel Rochman


Cork, the short muskrat who collects shiny stones, and Fuzz, the tall possum who collects, well, most things, including feathers, return in a fourth easy reader. Their slightly rivalrous friendship—they spar a bit over the sizes and types of their collections—is further tested when they encounter some “green stones” near a pond. Owing to a feather wrapped in Fuzz’s tail, five hatching ducklings bond with the possum, and their returning mother duck “collects” him while hustling her brood back to the nest. After Cork finds a way to liberate Fuzz, the pair runs, flaps and quacks, “collecting laughs all the way home.” McCue’s charming pictures couple pastoral blues and greens of pond and meadow with wiry and shiny textures for Cork and Fuzz’s fur and tails. While plotting is slightly thinner than in previous outings, Chaconas has fun with the friends’ confusion as the busy ducklings overrun their nest. A welcome addition to a sweet, funny series.



 It can be difficult to find early chapter books that are appealing. This is a hard level to write for—words need to be easy, sentence structure needs to be simple, and stories can’t be too long. Often the books are a bit flat and unsatisfying just when a developing reader needs them to be gripping and encouraging. So I am always happy to find a good early chapter book, and it is even better if it is part of a series. 

Cork and Fuzz by Dori Chaconas and Lisa McCue is a great series that I wish I had discovered when my kids where in this phase of reading. The stories are well developed and entertaining and the pictures are typical for McCue—high quality and adorable.

Cork is a muskrat that eats veggies and likes to play; Fuzz is a possum that eats bugs (yuck to Cork!) and likes to eat, a lot. Despite their differences, they manage to become friends through sweet and quirky adventures.

The books are gentle but funny. For instance, in Cork & Fuzz, The Collectors the duo is collecting stones when Fuzz finds duck eggs. The eggs hatch, and through a series of silly missteps, Fuzz ends up in the nest with the ducklings with the “mother buzzard bee” sitting on them all. The pictures are hilarious. But Cork comes through and rescues his friend and all is well in the end.

 These books are each about 30 pages long and are divided into chapters that make for good breaking points. They really are well done—fun stories, beautiful glossy pictures on each page, and a great theme of unlikely friends having a great time together.---Laurie Mayhew





© Dori Chaconas 2007