cover image Bad Drawer

Bad Drawer

Seth Fishman, illus. by Jessixa Bagley et al. Penguin Workshop, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5933-8578-4

They’re good at math and can make delicious cookies, but the unseen narrator of this title by Fishman (When I Wake Up) finds their art less than polished (“It’s like my hands can’t hear my brain”), offering proof of this perceived lack in the form of several marker-style drawings. But the speaker does have a ripping story idea, featuring “a mouse named Bailey who rides a half-cat half-bird named Catbird, and how they save the mouse kingdom from invading wand-wielding dragons!” Though they don’t appreciate their own rendering of the story, the book’s mood lightens when they realize that they can connect with a few artist friends, each of whom has a particular specialty. Readers are treated to sketches and full-color spot art from each of the illustrators—Jessixa Bagley (Courage Hats) shows Bailey decked out in a regal costume, and Armand Baltazar (the Timeless series) envisions the mouse’s hot air balloon—and then an exuberant, full-bleed spread that incorporates the collaborators’ work. The book’s conceit that some talents are binary—one’s either “good” at something or not—and set in stone at an early age is debatable, but its overarching message is worthwhile: collaboration is worth seeking out because it makes the most of everyone’s talents. Ages 5–8. [em](Oct.) [/em]