How to Catch a Clover Thief – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Let’s hear it for funny, subversive picture book writers who are women!!! Especially when they’re also an author-illustrator like Elise Parsley.

All Roy, the warthog, wants is to enjoy his little patch of clover. Tasty clover.

Isn’t that what we all want? To enjoy one sweet little treat of something we love? Something that may be in scarce supply?

Text/Illustration ©Elise Parsley

Scarcity can lead to moral dilemmas. To share or not to share?

Well, if you’re a warthog, and you’ve got a pesky neighbor like Jarvis, you might just want to defend your tasty patch.

Text/Illustration ©Elise Parsley

But Jarvis, one slick-talking, quick-thinking gopher, prepares his sneak attack—in the form of a cookbook, How to Cook With Clover. And poor ol’ Roy, smitten by the possibilities of tasty recipes made from clover, shaved acorns, mulberries, and mushrooms, heads off to forage for ingredients.

When he returns, his patch—GASP!—is smaller! Oh, no!

When Roy decides to camp out and stand guard, that sneaky little Jarvis hands him a book on creating a proper campsite, including carving out a canoe, LOL. And by the time Roy is done, well….I’ll bet you know what happens, again…and again, until the clover is completely gone.

What will Roy do when he figures out he’s been had? (Well, he and his clover have been had.) Is there a moral to this story? Does it matter that Jarvis is a sneaky fellow, who leaves Roy not one tiny sprig of his clover?

Inquiring minds want to know! Suffice to say that the ending is fabulous, and yes, subversive.

The pairing of a lovable warthog and a sneaky gopher is inspired. The illustrations will make you laugh out loud. And the ending brings a smile of, dare I say, satisfaction.


Make a warthog mask

Find out about plants you can forage for in the wild (one of them is clover).

Pair this book with Oh Look, A Cake! by J.C. McKee. Talk about what happens when someone doesn’t want to share.

Title: How to Catch a Clover Thief

Author/Illustrator: Elise Parsley

Publisher: Little Brown, 2021

Ages: pre-K to 3rd grade

Themes: Sharing, friendship

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.

6 thoughts on “How to Catch a Clover Thief – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Patricia Tilton says:

    What an entertaining book — a clever gopher and a trusting warthog. Love the illustrations and am curious how it ends. Perhaps gopher made a meal for them both?? Doesn’t sound like his personality, but I can hope. I used to gather clover as a child and pretended I was making burgers.

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