cover image Best Frints in the Whole Universe

Best Frints in the Whole Universe

Antoinette Portis. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-136-4

On Planet Boborp, “teef are long and tempers are short,” yet two lookalike pink and purple aliens “have been best frints since they were little blobbies.” Portis (Not a Box) pictures the frints, Omek and Yelfred, as bubblegum-tinted spheres with otterlike tails, spindly limbs, and prehensile antennae. The frints’ volatility mirrors Earthling rivalries, despite a winking refrain that we have no such drama “here on planet Earth.” When Yelfred receives a spossip (spaceship) for his blurfday, Omek takes it for a spin and schmackles it to pieces. Yelfred bites Omek’s tail off (“Luckily, on Boborp, tails grow back”) and calls him a “double-dirt bleebo.” After cooling down, they fix the vehicle with “taypo” and a “sturpler,” restoring their frintship. Portis tinkers gleefully with familiar language and provides a Boborpian glossary on the endpapers, just in case. Her dot-matrix layers of retro color add dimension to the simple shapes and close-up images, and her flamboyant misspellings and soundalike words let beginning readers in on the sly jokes while crafting an all-too-knowing portrait of what frintship often looks like. Ages 4–7. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (July)