Janet A. Holmes, illus. by Daniella Germain. Little Hare (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-921714-99-3
Everyone from Batman to trick-or-treaters knows the value of a good mask, and so does the redheaded hero of this story from Holmes (Have You Seen Duck?) and Australian illustrator Germain, making a strong children’s book debut. The boy is going somewhere new, and he’s not happy about it. Before leaving, he puts on a pointy-toothed “crocodile face” mask, and he won’t say anything but “Snap!” to the other mask-wearing “monsters” he’s spending the day with. Luckily, an artistic (and un-intimidated) girl in an owl mask is willing to help him trade his antisocial crocodile face for a fun-loving monkey one. While school jitters are the clearest analogy for the boy’s situation, Holmes smartly keeps the references to his destination vague, allowing the book to apply to other new experiences, too. Working with soft watercolors, crisp ink lines, and collage elements, Germain gives her characters jointed limbs that turn them into the equivalent of jointed paper dolls. It’s a fitting visual hook given the dress-up aspect of the masks, as well as how it allows subtle adjustments in body position to broadcast a range of emotion. Ages 3–5. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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