cover image Owly and Wormy, Friends All Aflutter!

Owly and Wormy, Friends All Aflutter!

Andy Runton, S&S/Atheneum, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5774-4

Fans of Runton's series of graphic novels know about Owly and Wormy's warm friendship and Owly's love for all living things. In the duo's first picture book, Owly learns that in order to attract the butterflies he yearns for, he must plant milkweed in his garden; however, he and Wormy are disconcerted by the caterpillars that show up. Since there's no text, their heated discussion is portrayed through speech balloons containing miniature illustrations and energetic punctuation: "[picture of milkweed] = [picture of butterflies]!" Wormy protests. "[picture of milkweed] ≠ [picture of caterpillars]!" "[Milkweed] = home," a baseball-capped caterpillar explains tearfully. Owly is a round ball with enormous, expressive eyes and pointy ears; tiny, blobby Wormy often perches on his head. Runton's colors are unabashedly cheerful—lemony yellows, sky blues, and velvety purple for night scenes—and clever, rewarding touches abound (when Owly gets a brainstorm, it's an efficient compact fluorescent light bulb that appears). Even very young children will be able to puzzle out the story's details from the expressions on the characters' faces, and Runton's unvarnished sentimentality creates an atmosphere of absolute security. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)