The versatile word dude
can act as a question, a warning, or an exclamation of delight, and Reynolds (Creepy Pair of Underwear!
) uses it all of these ways and more as the single spoken word of his story. A platypus and a beaver almost jump out of their board shorts when a shark surfaces in the waves behind them. “Duuuuude
!” they shriek. But the shark wants to be friends, and it speaks their language: “Dude...?” it ventures. The beaver paddles ashore and returns with an ice-cream cone with sprinkles; the platypus offers the shark a spare surfboard, which is even better. “Dude!” they chorus, catching the same wave. Santat (After the Fall
) pours on the special effects, and the shark’s massive body, double rows of teeth, and bathing suit (his tail fits through one leg, the other hangs empty) add danger-tinged comedy to every spread. It’s a story about welcoming the stranger, but the many dopey laughs and Santat’s panoply of goofy facial expressions deliver the message with sprinkles on top. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.)