cover image Lou


Breanna Carzoo. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-305405-9

“My name is Lou, and I’m... a toilet,” announces the red, goggle-eyed fire hydrant protagonist of this debut work. Cut-paper art shows a long queue of pooches, their owners portrayed with various abilities and skin tones, eying Lou. (One orange and white dog stands on crossed hind legs and holds its crotch in a pose that should be instantly familiar to any kid who’s ever had the gotta-go wriggles.) “All day, every day,” Lou says, these dogs “SNIFF and TWIST and TWIRL and LIFT,” resulting in “well, you know”—a spread devoted entirely to a bright yellow pee stream shows it crossing the book’s gutter and hitting the ground with an impressive visual splash. Understandably, Lou hopes that finding a use in life will mean something more, a wish that’s granted when a fire breaks out in a nearby building. A firefighter, led by a keen-nosed dalmatian, hooks up a hose to Lou and sends forth a torrent of water to save the building: “WHOA! WHOOSH! WOO HOO!” Carzoo uses direct, heartfelt prose and toylike images to infuse a quotidian object with winning personality and genuine poignancy—it won’t be a stretch for readers to identify with this small, put-upon character who discovers a bigger sense of purpose. Ages 4–8. Agent: Adria Goetz, Martin Literary. (June)