cover image Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever—or Snack Time?

Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever—or Snack Time?

Tammi Sauer, illus. by Michael Slack. Harcourt, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-547-85285-0

In Sauer’s bighearted tale, two fine, finned friends discover that conventional wisdom isn’t always to be trusted. Nugget the minnow and Fang the shark have palled around forever in the deep ocean. But when it’s time for Nugget to go to school, Fang feels left out. Meanwhile, Nugget is shocked by what he learns in school: “Sharks are toothy. Sharks are scary. Sharks and minnows can’t be friends,” he explains to Fang. Just when things look bleakest, Fang finds a way to win back Nugget’s friendship and shatter the scary shark stereotype. Sauer (Princess in Training) creates kindly characters and hits sweetly humorous notes throughout, avoiding a lesson-heavy tone. Packed with visual gags, Slack’s (Pass It On) digital artwork features varied blues and zingy dashes of orange, magenta, and neon green that make the friends’ undersea home feel like SpongeBob Square-Pants’s Bikini Bottom by way of Mary Blair. Fang’s comparative enormousness and toothy grin help him steal most of the scenes in this funny friendship tale. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Mar.)