cover image Mario Makes a Move

Mario Makes a Move

Jill McElmurry. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-375-86854-2

Who needs a dance floor? Mario the squirrel busts out his signature Jitterbug, Super Looper, Arch ’n’ Hiss, and other amazing feats in his natural habitat: the tree. While family members heap on the praise (“Astonishing!” “Artistic!”), Mario’s pal Isabelle isn’t as impressed (“That’s nice”). She’s busy crafting complicated moves of her own. Faced with not being as unique as he thought, Mario feels the wrong kind of funk coming on. But in true friend fashion, Isabelle knows how to help him get his groove—and his moves—back. In Mario, McElmurry (Who Stole Mona Lisa?) introduces a seemingly egotistical artiste who’s actually quite likable. Her text and watercolor artwork capture the exuberance of the creative spirit alongside the quirks of a character accepting his limitations. Set in a forest of golden fall foliage, accented by some brown acorns and a supportive (and agile) woodland cast, the scenes will have readers longing for crisp autumn air. Sketched blueprints for various moves and an end page of facts labeled “If You Are a Squirrel” are among many memorable humorous details. Ages 3–7. Agent: Wernick and Pratt Agency. (May)