cover image Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit

Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit

Catherine Rayner, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-32217-5

In keeping with this story's work-in-progress theme, Rayner (Harris Finds His Feet) uses green graph paper as a backdrop for Ernest, a moose who's too big to fit into the book's spreads. His pinprick eyes and ample schnozz, smudged with brown paint and dotted with fingerprints, peer at readers as he attempts to work his way into the confines of the spread: "He struggles to SHIMMY, SHIFT, and SHUFFLE in forward." His rear end dominates the next spread, pushing words out of the way. "He tries to SQUIDGE, SQUODGE, and SQUEEZE in backward." But Ernest's chipmunk sidekick has an idea: "She fetches some masking tape, and Ernest collects some paper." Their solution—one that recalls the finale of a similarly themed title, Mo Willems's Big Frog Can't Fit In—is a quadruple gatefold made to look like scraps of paper taped together; unfolded, it shows Ernest in all his moosey glory. Rayner captures beautifully the bulk and awkwardness of Ernest's massive body and the nervous movements of the chipmunk; even smallest children will greet their antics with giggles. Ages 2–6. (Oct.)