Ernest & Rebecca: My Best Friend Is a Germ

Guillaume Bianco, Author, Antonello Dalena, Illustrator
Guillaume Bianco and Antonello Dalena. NBM/Papercutz (www.papercutz.com), $11.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-59707-286-1
Reviewed on: 11/07/2011
Release date: 12/06/2011
Hardcover - 48 pages - 978-1-59707-299-1
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A six-and-a-half-year-old child with a compromised immune system deals with her parents’ separation by imagining a microbial best pal named Ernest in this French import. Little Rebecca is fussed over by her parents to keep her from going outside and picking up germs, but they can’t even stay civil for the birthday get-together for their 14-year-old daughter, Coralie. To compensate, Rebecca imagines Ernest, a “very rare and exceptionally robust” virus, who keeps her company and helps hatch schemes to get her parents back together. After confiding in Coralie, Rebecca decides that Ernest is actually a “vaccination” protecting her from worse diseases. Dalena’s art is lush and expressive, with an elegant line and Disney-like character designs. Bianco’s clever script comes up with endless illness-based metaphors for the family’s situation —for instance, Sam, the mother’s new boyfriend, is a “super aggressive microbe,” according to Ernest. Much of the irony and implied darkness will go over younger readers’ heads—although they may find it unsettling—but most will probably enjoy the germ-filled antics. Ages 6–11. (Nov.)
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