Yak and Dove

Kyo Maclear, illus. by Esmé Shapiro. Tundra, $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-77049-494-7
Odd-couple friendships are nothing new in children’s literature, but seldom is one portrayed with the grace and sly humor Maclear and Shapiro bring to this story. Much of its appeal is in the personalities that make up this quirky dyad: hulking Yak is a well-mannered, phlegmatic introvert, while Dove is pushy, quick tempered, and a little self-important (“Yes. It’s Dove,” he barks into his cellphone. “Okay. Keep all my shares in futuristic gizmos”). Maclear (The Liszts) divides the story into three chapters, all told in spare but emotionally rich dialogue. The funniest chapter, “The Audition,” finds Yak “lamenting” his recent estrangement from Dove and agreeing to a talent contest to find a new best friend who shares his interests and “values furriness in his companions.” Shapiro (Ooko) fills her watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations with subtle comedy (the temporary winner of the talent show, a wolf, promptly latches onto Yak’s tail in an attempt to eat him) and excels at depicting the quiet pleasures of being simpatico, when a look between friends says it all. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator’s agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/17/2017
Release date: 09/19/2017
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