Armadillo and Hare: Tales from the Forest

Jeremy Strong, illus. by Rebecca Bagley. Scholastic/Fickling, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-338-54059-8
Indisputably, and hilariously, the title characters of these 10 loopy tales are a classic odd couple. Cranky and a tad slothful, Armadillo can’t quite master buttoning his cardigan correctly and is unabashedly obsessed with eating—and painting—cheese sandwiches. Chirpy housemate Hare favors reading, exercising, and playing his tuba, which, in one of the stories’ wry quirks, emits not only sound but such capricious items as a roll of toilet paper, candlelit balloons, and a chorus of frogs (all objects gradually vanish, much to Armadillo’s relief). Whimsically echoing the tenor of the goings-on, Bagley’s cheerful illustrations capture the expressive protagonists’ mutual exasperation and affection, as well as their interactions with a menagerie of pals, including a lonely jaguar, a nosy elephant, and a loquacious insect whose camouflage skills render her invisible. Strong adds a wry existential note to this breezy contemplation on friendship, compromise, and acceptance, as Armadillo and Hare extemporaneously ask the other, “What do you do?” to which each replies, “I just am.” And for peckish readers who share Armadillo’s cravings, the author provides amusingly simple instructions for making the character’s “best” cheese sandwich. Ages 7–10. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/26/2019
Release date: 02/04/2020
Genre: Children's
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