cover image Best Buds

Best Buds

Maxwell Eaton, III, Author . Knopf $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-375-83803-3

Eaton offers a spry portrait of the friendship between an earnest youngster (whose bald pate calls to mind Charlie Brown) and a perky pink piglet with a penchant for marshmallows in this first book of the Adventures of Max and Pinky. For these best buds, "every Saturday is Adventure Day!" But one Saturday, Pinky goes missing, so Max searches his pal's favorite places: a "gooey brown mud puddle," the "big red barn" and a "deep blue pond," but Pinky is nowhere to be found. The boy lets his imagination go wild. Could he be lost in the woods or "carried away by bunnies"? The backside of a polar bear (who's been swimming in the pond) reminds him of a marshmallow—the needed clue Max sought. Pinky is hiding in a cupboard, stuffing his face with his favorite fare ("Busted! "). Rendered in black pen-and-ink with digital coloring, Eaton's spare, vividly hued pictures—supplemented by wry asides presented in dialogue balloons—deftly deliver the simple tale's ample humor. Chuckle-worthy images include Max emerging from the gooey puddle coated in mud, Pinky snoozing happily on straw in the coop while an outraged chicken asks, "Okay, who took my spot?" and Max's fantasy image of the diminutive piglet being whisked away by even smaller bunnies. Youngsters will likely wish to tune in for the duo's next adventure, Superheroes . Ages 5-8. (Dec.)