cover image Tilly and Tank

Tilly and Tank

Jay Fleck. Tundra, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-101-91786-2

Expectations shape perception, suggests illustrator Fleck (Black Belt Bunny) in his first outing as author. When a teal elephant named Tilly spots a distant green creature with a trunk and a tail similar to hers, she assumes it “must be a different kind of elephant.” Meanwhile, when Tank (who is no elephant but a trigger-happy tank) spies a figure with “a barrel and a turret, just like his” in his crosshairs, he is certain that Tilly is an “enemy.” In response to her friendly, “Hello,” he lets loose a spread-filling “boom” that sends Tilly running for cover. Undeterred, Tilly continues to try to befriend Tank, and eventually wins him over with the gift of a flower. Colored in a soft, creamy palette, Fleck’s nostalgic illustrations bring a 1950s-era Disney vibe to the pages, but sensitive readers (and some parents) may be disturbed by images of a tank, even a cute one, firing on a defenseless elephant. (Luckily, Tank is a terrible shot.) Even so, the book’s closing note of peace reveals how persistent kindness can win out over aggression. Ages 3–7. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Jan.)