cover image Mister Cool

Mister Cool

Birdy Jones, illus. by Tara D. Lynch. owerHouse/Pow! (Random, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-57687-719-7

Even a kid who’s a firm believer in his own “super cool-osity” can get attention from the “wrong crowd,” but Mister Cool, an anthropomorphic animal of indeterminate species with sunglasses and a curly red mane, turns every mean-spirited encounter into a teachable, winnable moment. When a girl calls Mr. Cool a dweeb, he tells her “dweebs make up 90% of the world and with numbers that large, she was probably one, too.” Totally impressed by his numeracy, the girl asks Mister Cool for help studying and sends him a mash note. Newcomers Jones and Lynch mean well, but their hero sets a high standard for self-reliance, confidence, and results. Mister Cool literally spins getting tripped into “super-fresh break dance moves,” but in real life, readers need to know how to enlist the support of friends and grownups, when needed, rather than hope that their personalities will dazzle their tormenters. The book’s design, a mashup of typographic and rendering styles, is similarly problematic. The thin line between edginess and trying too hard is crossed early on, sending off vibes of jumbled anxiety. Ages 6–9. Agent: Ron Zollshan, Kirchoff/Wohlberg. (Jan.)