cover image Remy and Lulu

Remy and Lulu

Kevin Hawkes, with Hannah E. Harrison. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-449-81085-9

Perhaps as a hat tip to their own collaboration—Harrison was once Hawkes’s intern—Hawkes (Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch) tells a story about two fictional artists who work together. Lovable, nearsighted Remy wears a baggy purple smock and bottle-bottom spectacles, and paints cubist-style portraits. “I paint the essence of a person, not their likeness,” he says, just before a disgruntled subject breaks a canvas over his head. Unbeknownst to the myopic Remy, his brilliant hound, Lulu, sneaks exquisite, sardonic portraits of the owners’ pets into the corners of Remy’s larger portraits; these miniatures are Harrison’s (Extraordinary Jane) work. When Remy gets a pair of proper glasses and realizes that Lulu’s work has been winning the praise he thought belonged to him, there’s a period of chilly alienation before the two reconcile. Hawkes’s artwork is characteristically sunny and lighthearted, while Harrison’s detailed miniatures, whose animal subjects are posed in elaborate period costumes, sit a bit uneasily atop Hawkes’s spreads. While the end result is thoroughly charming, they testify to some unwritten truth about the difficulty of reconciling two visual universes within the same book. Ages 4–9. (Sept.)