The Prince’s New Pet

Brian Anderson. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-357-1
Anderson’s graphic novel/picture book hybrid features a dank prison, a gigantic explosion, and a mysterious multicolored creature no one’s ever seen before. Young Prince Viridian’s fight to restore color to his father’s all-gray kingdom pits him against a villainous “royal color catcher” who patrols the kingdom with a net and a bicycle-powered dirigible. Allied with the prince are the imprisoned royal court painter, Murialis Mayhew, and a furry, rainbow-hued “wooglefoof,” which arrives by parachute, for reasons that remain unclear, at Prince Viridian’s dreary birthday party (the prince’s cake is “eight layers of gray cake smeared with gray frosting without a single candle”). Anderson (Nighty Night, Sleepy Sleeps) channels Jules Feiffer and Norton Juster with a dollop of Roald Dahl, cranking up the tension with moment-by-moment panel sequences, particularly in the climactic events that have the prince and color catcher teetering on the edge of an abyss. Though the ending comes off a bit contrived, it’s easy to imagine older siblings being drawn into a read-aloud session—and then spiriting the book away to inspect the artwork. Ages 4–8. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2011
Release date: 12/06/2011
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