cover image Imogene Comes Back!

Imogene Comes Back!

David Small. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-59-312374-4

Thirty-five years after she sprouted antlers and peacock feathers, Imogene, that far pluckier version of Gregor Samsa, awakens, and “it appeared that the parade of peculiarities would proceed.” It begins with Imogene acquiring a giraffe’s neck; then comes an elephant’s nose and ears, followed by butterfly wings. This time, there’s no period of adjustment—Imogene is an old hand by now, and her self-possession is one of the book’s delights. Her patrician family remains beyond nonplussed (her mother swoons; her father suggests, “Send her to art school!”), while the household staff is quick to spot the utility of it all: Mrs. Perkins puts elephantized Imogene to work watering the garden. Small’s pen, ink, and watercolor drawings are as sly as ever, rendered in creamy tones befitting Imogene’s posh lifestyle and punctuated by sublime goofiness—and reminding readers that being able to roll with change is a useful part of transformation. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)