cover image The Mystery

The Mystery

Maxwell Eaton, III, Author . Knopf $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-375-83807-1

In this latest Adventures of Max and Pinky installment, the Charlie Brown look-alike and his pig best friend work all day to paint their barn, only to discover that someone has repainted it overnight. What's more, the culprit marches to a very different drummer: one morning the barn is pink, the next plaid. With help from a Rube Goldberg–like alarm system (rendered in a very funny blueprint spread), the miscreant is finally revealed as... Pinky himself. Is this the end of a beautiful friendship? Peppering his story with deadpan asides (“This is getting weird,” says the horse) and visual jokes (Pinky subjects a squirrel to an interrogation under a naked light bulb), Eaton (The Best Buds ) once again elevates goofiness to fine art. He gets considerable comic mileage out of his simply drawn characters and their dialogue balloon remarks. Even more to his credit, he makes an admirable statement about the nature of friendship without ever turning preachy. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)