cover image Flabbersmashed About You

Flabbersmashed About You

Rachel Vail, illus. by Yumi Heo. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-312-61345-7

In their third journey through the emotional states of heroine Katie Honors (following Sometimes I’m Bombaloo and Jibberwillies at Night), Vail and Heo look at what happens when a best friend suddenly turns cold. One day, Katie and Jennifer are inseparable (“Lots of times, we dress alike. Our hands fit perfectly together”); the next day, Jennifer has picked Roy—who likes to “play warriors... and kill bad guys”—to be her “walk-in-from-recess” buddy. As with the previous books, Vail coins an aurally vivid portmanteau (flabbersmashed) to describe Katie’s psychic cocktail of bewilderment, anger, and sense of abandonment. Heo’s colorful childlike drawings effortlessly veer from the opening pages’ idylls of friendship into harrowing psychological maelstroms: when Katie first receives Jennifer’s casual rejection, the playground is transformed into a vast sea of midnight blue that threatens to engulf her. Vail fully inhabits Katie’s mind and emotions and with prose like “my whole self felt like a bruise” gives readers yet another way to describe and think about feelings that are sometimes difficult to put into words. Ages 4–8. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (July)