Anton and the Battle

Ole Könnecke, trans. from the German by Catherine Chidgey. Gecko Press USA (Lerner, dist.), $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-8775-7926-4
First published in Germany, this companion to Könnecke’s Anton Can Do Magic (2011) digs in deeper, as Anton and a friend/rival named Luke engage in a festival of one-upmanship. “I can carry a whole piano. I’m much stronger than you. And much, much louder!” says Luke. “I’m even louder than you,” retorts Anton, appearing with a bass drum. “Louder! Louder!! Louder!!!” That Anton and Luke are warring only with words is shown by the piano, bass drum, and other objects under discussion, which Könnecke draws as imaginary objects in red and blue outline. Mallets (“I’ll flatten you!”), bombs, tigers, and four-headed dragons are invoked, one after another, and the only thing that silences the two boys is the appearance of a small puppy—a real one—which sends them scrambling into a tree, in contrast to all their brave talk. Könnecke’s sturdy clear-line drawings may remind older readers of Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon, and he doesn’t need irony or snark to deliver an on-target picture of the bluster of boyhood. Ages 3–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/21/2013
Release date: 01/01/2013
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