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No Room For Napoleon    by Adria Meserve order for
No Room For Napoleon
by Adria Meserve
Order:  USA  Can
Bodley Head, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Adria Meserve tells us that 'Napoleon was a small brown dog with very big ideas.' While exploring in his boat, he spots a small island, and decides to claim it as his own. When he lands, he finds Crab, Bunny, and Bear already there. They welcome him, give him gifts, and offer to help make him a home.

Like his namesake, Napoleon proves good at giving orders ... too good! He does less and less, supervizing the others and barking out commands to keep them working hard. Gradually, his house grows bigger and bigger, while the remainder of the island gets smaller and smaller. The others leave and when Napoleon tries to join them on their new island, what do they say? 'No! There's no room for Napoleon!'

It's an interesting story on different levels - small kids can learn lessons about bossiness, friendship and sharing, while all ages can benefit from the environmental allegory about overuse of resources until they run out. Luckily, Napoleon has a change of heart before it's too late - will we do the same?

2nd Review by Hilary Daninhirsch:

While sailing in a rowboat, Napoleon the dog discovers an island, which he deems to be paradise. Other inhabitants include Crab, Bunny, and Bear, who welcome Napoleon to their island with open arms.

Napoleon bosses all the other creatures around as they help him build his house on the island. Eventually, he comes to believe that he owns the island. His house soon takes up most of the available space, and he used up all the island's resources in building it. Proclaiming himself King, he ostracizes his islandmates, and they sail away, setting up house on a new island. Napoleon feels excluded, of course, and tries to get back in the other animals' good graces.

Napoleon learns that friendship beats loneliness, and the accumulation of material items means nothing if you can't share them. The book also contains a nice message of forgiveness. The animals portrayed are expressive, and the soft watercolors a nice accompaniment to the text.

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