cover image If I Had a Gryphon

If I Had a Gryphon

Vikki VanSickle, illus. by Cale Atkinson. Tundra, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77049-809-9

Already bored with her new hamster, a girl with ochre skin, rosy cheeks, and square-framed glasses imagines life with an array of mythological creatures as pets. VanSickle (Summer Days, Starry Nights) and Atkinson (To the Sea) have a blast envisioning the possibilities, revealing the pros and cons of each monster. A handsome lavender unicorn would mean prancing through fields of flowers and snacking on nectarines, but they can also be shy (Atkinson shows the girl and her friends looking unimpressed as the horse cowers under the bed). A hippogriff—whose bird half is more blue jay than eagle—doesn’t do well at the dog park, “Kirin needs a field of grass/ At least an ocean wide,” and “Jackalope needs sturdy reins/ for bumpy, jumpy rides.” VanSickle’s rhymes are unflaggingly exuberant as the girl puts up with noisy harpies, biting chupacabras, and mischievous fairies, and Atkinson fills the pages with visual comedy. In one of the funniest scenes, a dopey-looking kraken grins innocently as its tentacles snag an ocean liner and a rather perturbed whale. Ages 3–7. [em]Author’s agent: Sally Harding, Cooke Agency. (Feb.) [/em]