cover image Accident!


Andrea Tsurumi. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-544-94480-0

When a little armadillo named Lola knocks a jug of red juice all over her family’s white sofa, she flees to the library to hide (“They have books and bathrooms,” she reasons). But as Lola runs, it becomes apparent that she is far from an outlier: the entire city is plagued by hapless inhabitants who aren’t owning up to the messes they’re making. In her first picture book, cartoonist Tsurumi offers an ingenious and utterly hilarious take on this important moral issue. Her sprawling but precisely drawn and crisply colored spreads—dotted with chewy words like “Calamity!” Fiasco!” and “Mayhem!”—are utterly crammed with screw-ups that reward sharp-eyed readers: blenders explode, pants are wet, octopus ink is sprayed, and not even the library is a safe zone. Finally, a red bird who has witnessed everything teaches Lola a two-part lesson: when a mistake happens—whether through thoughtlessness, carelessness, or bad luck—it’s okay to call it an accident, but it’s also necessary to “make it better.” Together, Lola and readers finish the story with their consciences pricked, assuaged, and thoroughly tickled. Ages 4–7. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Oct.)