Hector and Hummingbird

Nicholas John Frith. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-85701-7
Everybody has one: the treasured friend who's just a little, well, annoying. For Hector, a bear living "deep in the mountains of Peru," that friend is Hummingbird. When Hector wants a little quiet time to enjoy a juicy piece of fruit, scratch his back, or take a nap, Hummingbird sticks to him like glue, commenting on and copycatting everything Hector does. "Hector? Hec-torrr??" says Hummingbird, flitting his wings and bobbing in the air, his jabber stacked in appropriately pointy dialogue boxes. Hector blows his top and storms away, then hits on a brilliant friendship-saving strategy—which is also a time-honored preschool teacher gambit. "Hummingbird," he says with a bright but ever-so-sly smile, "can you copy me now, by being really, really quiet?" Frith, in a terrific debut, writes with a light touch and an astute ear, making what could have been a familiar odd couple story feel fresh and new. Most impressive of all is his artwork: rendered in a gorgeously florid palette of brown, pink, turquoise, and olive, it evokes both midcentury illustration and vintage barkcloth. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/08/2016
Release date: 03/29/2016
Genre: Children's
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