cover image Beware the Blue Bagoo

Beware the Blue Bagoo

Karl Newson, illus. by Andrea Stegmaier. Happy Yak, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7112-6784-8

The “WELCOME TO RUMORVILLE” sign on this book’s colophon provides a tip-off as to what’s afoot throughout a rhyming story about misinformation. And indeed, an entire seaside town populated by toylike animal-human residents of various fanciful hues, rendered in nursery colors by Stegmaier (AAAlligator!), is obsessed with the putative existence of the titular monster. “My parrot was squashed by a Blue Bagoo shoe,” one claims; “My hat disappeared without a clue!” another asserts. There’s even a town song devoted to the menace, complete with sound effects (“STOMP! CHOMP!”), and warnings that the entity will “make a meal out of you.” A skeptical, pink-skinned child with pointy cat ears and a deerstalker cap investigates and makes a big discovery: there is, in fact, a Blue Bagoo—furry, hand-size, cute, and friendly—as well as a giant and equally neighborly Blue Bagee. The town proffers apologies to the monsters and their kin, and updates the song (“A friend to me and you!”). If the tale is woolly in its telling, straightforward messaging from Newsom (I Am a Tiger) proves both sincere and relevant: “Isn’t it strange, how a rumor can grow/ out of fear for a thing that we don’t really know?” Ages 4–6. (Feb.)