cover image Tell the Truth, Pangolin

Tell the Truth, Pangolin

Melinda Beatty, illus. by Paola Escobar. Random House/Schwartz, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-18013-6

The queen’s painted swing hangs suspended from a tree branch on beautiful red cords, topped with a soft cushion. Pangolin can’t resist a swing in the summer sun, but a moment later, the cords break, and he faces the problem of how to communicate the damage. He hastens to a friend for advice: “Oh, faithful Badger... I’ve broken the queen’s swing, and I don’t know what to tell her.” Escobar (Beauty Woke) creates a royal castle and grounds populated entirely by animals: Badger is a groom, Goose is a knight, Fox is a guard. As Pangolin questions palace denizens ever more nervously, each suggests an improbable fib (“Perhaps you could say that a giant bird mistook the rope for worms”). But when the dreaded interview takes place, Pangolin does something unexpected—and so does the queen. Banners, striped tents, and medieval flourishes abound in elaborate digital spreads worked in jewel tones, while fantasies depicting the friends’ advice are pictured in striking single-color retro art. Beatty (the Heartseeker duology) uses repetition and humor to compose a story about truth-telling whose humor and fantasy imbue it with emotion. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jennifer Linnan, Linnan Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Amy Kitcherside, Pickled Ink. (Oct.)