cover image Alphonse, That Is Not OK to Do!

Alphonse, That Is Not OK to Do!

Daisy Hirst. Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8103-6

Natalie and Alphonse are a pair of monster siblings—she has frilly ears and webbed feet, while he has rabbit ears and pointy teeth—but they live and act like ordinary children. Their home is an apartment with bunk beds and a big green chair, and they love each other—except when younger brother Alphonse munches absently on Natalie’s things. When she finds him eating her favorite book, she makes a fearsome drawing featuring “a tornado, two beasts, a swarm of peas, and Alphonse, very small.” But while she’s in the bath, sounds from the other side of the door sound as though Natalie’s threatening drawing has come to life. Alphonse is all right, and he shows Natalie her drawing, which he’s transformed with some lighthearted additions. There’s no moralizing in this tale of siblings on a collision course, written with a gossamer touch. Instead, Hirst (The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head) lets the two children work things out for themselves and offers the idea that drawing isn’t just child’s play, but a place where powerful emotions can be confronted and resolved. Ages 2–5. (Nov.)