cover image The Memory Bank

The Memory Bank

Carolyn Coman, illus. by Rob Shepperson, Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-545-21066-9

Coman and Shepperson (who previously collaborated on The Big House) alternate prose and pictures to tell the story of Hope and Honey Scroggins, daughters of unspeakably craven parents. As punishment for laughing, they abandon tiny Honey roadside. Readers won't worry about Honey; Shepperson's sequential full-page art shows her immediate rescue by a truckload of happy and mischievous kids. Hope, however, is relegated to sleeping in the garage, where she pines for Honey. But when Hope is collected by a muscular agent of the World Wide Memory Bank, a fantastical factory where memories are stored and dreams recorded, she is embraced by an entertaining cast of (mostly) loving characters. Hope is allowed to continue dreaming about a reunion with Honey; only Sterling Prion, the bank's head who fusses about impending war with the Clean Slate Gang (the rebel tots depicted in Shepperson's vibrant, sometimes menacing pencil drawings), interrupts Hope's reverie. It's not a seamless mesh of art and text—what Honey and crew are up to is a bit inscrutable for most of the story—but the sisters' tender relationship provides a rewarding unifying thread. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)