cover image Be Good Girls!

Be Good Girls!

Yokococo, . . Gingham Dog, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7696-4434-9

What exactly does Mommy mean when she asks her two daughters to "be good girls for me" while she works in the garden? The girls decide that it means, "Let's be like Mommy!" They slosh flour and eggs around the kitchen, smear themselves with makeup, generate a flurry of soap bubbles (doing laundry) and cover themselves with wallpaper (because "Mommy makes things look pretty"). "Just try to be good little girls," says a slightly startled Mommy, finding her daughters distraught over the mess they've made. "You'll be big girls soon enough!" At first glance, this book may seem nothing more than cute; Yokococo's ultra-naïf characters bring to mind loose sketches for Hello Kitty. But the illustrator gets comic mileage out of the sisters' doughy bodies and minimalist faces (dots for eyes and noses, pink smudges for cheeks), and her strongly graphic spreads evince a savvy sense of composition. By setting her line drawings against saturated, vibrant colors, she makes the turn of each page feel like opening another brightly colored present. Kids will get a giggle from the consequences of Mommy's all-too-familiar words—and mommies will find themselves promising never to issue vague instructions. Ages 2-5. (Oct.)