Joone

Emily Kate Moon, Author
Emily Kate Moon. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3744-0
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With her idiosyncratically spelled name, openhearted precociousness, and ever-present pet turtle, Dr. Chin, five-year-old Joone (who notes that, despite her age, “I can count to a hundred”) makes a winning tour guide to life with her grandfather. And Grandpa is pretty cool himself: a former scientist (“He can count to a thousand”), he lives in a self-built yurt, and he makes Joone feel that their relationship is one of both deep love and mutual respect. “Every day Grandpa teaches me something new,” says Joone. “He says every day I teach him something new, too.” Debut author/illustrator Moon’s gouache-and-pencil drawings can feel more like storyboard sketches than finished art, and the two characters are generically cheery. But with a one-of-a-kind home, a spectacular tree house, a nearby river for swimming, and the supportive presence of her grandfather, Joone’s life is an enviable one. Moon’s ability to convey her heroine’s self-assured contentment and love for her grandfather without resorting to the twee or overly literal is the mark of a real, if nascent talent. Ages 3–5. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (June)
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