cover image The Hubbub Above

The Hubbub Above

Arthur Howard. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-204592-0

Howard\x92s (Serious Trouble) loopy, urbane cartooning is put to wonderful use in this story of a stylish young New Yorker who\x92s down and out on the 52nd floor. Sidney loved her apartment for its quietude\x97she was so high up that \x93she couldn\x92t hear the screeches, the scrunches, or the vroom, vroom, vrooms from the street below.\x94 But when new, unseen neighbors move in directly upstairs, they seem capable of generating a noise level approaching that of a herd of elephants. Imagine Sydney\x92s surprise when she finally confronts the Kabooms and discovers that not only are they real pachyderms, but they also throw fabulous parties (\x93The band was hip\x94 reads the text as a quintet of hippos jam). Friendship smoothes over the conflict, and the genial elephants agree to curb their din (they now pad around their flat in furry, noise-absorbing bunny slippers). Best of all\x97at least from a stylish New Yorker\x92s perspective\x97Sydney gets on their A-list. Howard has a wonderful time squeezing the humongous but well-meaning Kabooms onto his pages, and with so many abundant visual and verbal asides (e.g., when Sydney overhears one Kaboom remark, \x93Do you think my nose is too long?\x94), there\x92s enough comic energy generated to light up all of Manhattan. Ages 3-7. (May)