cover image Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn

Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn

Shannon Hale, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Abrams, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5091-5

This picture book by collaborators Hale and Pham (Real Friends, the Princess in Black series) unfolds on a field of bright white space, a wide-open world tailor-made for a cast of vivid and strong personalities, all rendered in can’t-miss colors. Accordingly, a pink puffball kitten who feels “so perfectly unicorn-y” ties a paper horn to her head, where it points “up, up, up to the sky.” Looking in the mirror, she sees a marvelous horned steed with a luxuriant purple mane. But two household naysayers—a bright green parakeet and an orange gecko—insist that their reality is immutable. “You’re never going to be a unicorn, funny-foo,” says Parakeet. “You meow in your sleep, miffy-mew,” adds Gecko. Then a unicorn appears, confides to Kitty that he admires her “fuzzy ears and silver whiskers,” and, donning a pink cat-ear headband, declares himself a “kitty-corn,” too. What ostensibly starts out as an almost criminally cute tale of pretend play transforms into something much more: a celebration of claiming and naming one’s identity and having it affirmed by others—even if it’s a community of two. “I knew that another kitty-corn like you would see,” says the unicorn. “Yes,” says Kitty, “I see you.” Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Mar.) [/em]