cover image Hank’s Big Day: The Story of a Bug

Hank’s Big Day: The Story of a Bug

Evan Kuhlman, illus. by Chuck Groenink. Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-553-51150-5

One suspects that every day looms large for Hank: he’s a pill bug, tiny even for the insect world. Groenink (Rufus the Writer) contributes sunny digital drawings textured like screenprint art and dotted with explanatory captions (a near miss with a skateboarder is “too close for comfort!”), playing with scale and framing as the self-sufficient hero goes through his morning; Hank’s “exercise stick,” which initially seems as tall as a climbing wall in close-up, is revealed to be a twig. Most of the story focuses on Hank’s playdate with his best friend: a human girl named Amelia, who wears an aviator cap and scarf in tribute to her famous namesake. Kuhlman (Great Ball of Light) doesn’t provide any backstory for this unusual friendship, and there’s something lovely and inviting about this matter-of-factness as the two enjoy an afternoon of aeronautically themed pretend play. Big, it seems, doesn’t need to refer to revelations, drama, or physical size; it can speak instead to the significance of having a friend who is deeply simpatico. Ages 3–7. [em]Illustrator’s agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Sept.) [/em]