cover image The Creature of Habit

The Creature of Habit

Jennifer E. Smith, illus. by Leo Espinosa. Random House Studio, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-17305-3

A creature from the island of Habit learns to break out of routine in this encouraging play-on-words story from YA author Smith (Field Notes on Love). As Habit’s sole resident, a large round white creature “with very big teeth. And very big eyes. And very, very big feet” is accustomed to a consistent daily schedule: a meal of three pineapples and two bananas; a friendly tour of the island to hunt seashells and greet the fish, trees, rocks, and a crab; another meal; and a cozy bedtime involving a toothbrush custom-made for his two buck teeth. When a blue “very small creature” unexpectedly arrives, the “very big creature” is initially shocked that the traveler doesn’t want to stick to the program—evidently preferring to eat coconuts and oranges, build sandcastles, and vary his sleep schedule. Before long, though, the free-spirited visitor’s unusual activities and unpredictable schedule tempt the change-averse creature, opening his eyes to pleasures he’d overlooked and inviting him to occasionally do things differently—a final moment under the stars suggests that different can even be wondrous. Employing tropical hues, digital illustrations by Espinosa (No More Naps!) have a hip screen-printed quality that playfully freshens up Smith’s familiar message about staying open to change. Ages 3–7. (Nov.)