Can I Tell You a Secret?
Anna Kang, illus. by Christopher Weyant. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-239684-6
The husband-and-wife team behind You Are (Not) Small and That’s (Not) Mine introduces a frog hero who endears himself to readers right from the get-go. “Pssst!” says Monty, leaning out from the right-hand side of the opening spread. “Yes, you. Hi. Could you come here for a sec?” The frog’s hands are joined anxiously, its webbed feet splayed like goofy flippers. After assuring himself that readers can keep a secret, Monty confesses, “I can’t swim. Not even a little bit. And... I’m afraid of the water.” Questions and answers lead readers deeper into the frog’s dilemma, and Weyant gets additional laughs with vignettes of Monty’s avoidance strategies—a fake doctor’s note, desperate clinging. “What’s that? You think I should tell someone? Like my parents?” This turns out surprisingly well (“We know, sweetie”) and offers the beginnings of a solution. Weyant captures expressions with just a few antic lines, a dynamic match for Kang’s smart dialogue. Watching Monty confess his fear to his parents might persuade some readers to entrust adults with their own secrets and insecurities. Ages 4–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/22/2016