Take a Hike, Miles and Spike!

Travis Foster and Ethan Long. Chronicle, $16.99 (44p) ISBN 978-1-45216471-7

At first, dogs Miles and Spike seem like run-of-the-mill nature lovers: Miles wears a jaunty red cap and is well-equipped for the journey with a backpack and shovel, Spike has a sturdy walking stick, and they both sport big, eager smiles. Very soon, though, they reveal that they’re in the forest to plunder it blithely, offering little more than a verbal kiss-off to the stunned inhabitants. They pick all the flowers: “Buh-bye, Butterfly!” They steal all the berries: “We’re outta here, Deer! Can’t stay, Blue Jay!” Finally, enough is enough, and the put-upon animals and insects shout, “Take a hike, Miles and Spike!” Chastened (“We acted dumb, chum”), the dogs make amends with a picnic celebration. Audiences who get the giggles from hearing “see you later, alligator” are going to find plenty to love (and repeat) in the word balloons. The cartooning from the creative team behind Give Me Back My Book is equally snappy: with its strong black outlines, color saturation (every vignette is set against a solid color field), and single-plane compositions, it has the breezy visual styling of a classic comic. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)
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