cover image The Hinky-Pink

The Hinky-Pink

, , illus. by Brian Floca. . Atheneum/Jackson, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-689-87588-5

In this small-format entry, a happy hybrid of traditional tale and quirky cartoon, McDonald (Judy Moody ) and Floca (Lightship ) recast a story from 1940 to tickle a contemporary fancy. Humble seamstress Anabel’s dream of sewing a princess’s ball gown is finally about to come true—until a Hinky-Pink, a mysterious, seemingly invisible creature begins robbing her of sleep night after night. The characters clearly inhabit fairy tale land—“back when mirrors could talk and princes were frogs”—but this particular magical realm intersects with a long-ago Florence, depicted in Floca’s limber ink-and-watercolor illustrations and invoked by the occasional Italian word or phrase. Like the text, the art hits just the right tone of tongue-in-cheek earnestness: after stating that the heroine’s name is Anabel, the omniscient narrator adds, “Alas, not Anabella,” and a speech balloon floats out of the illustration (a panorama of Florence) with an echoing “Alas.” The lively design mixes full-page bleeds, pictures stretching across spreads, and tiny animated vignettes; a profusion of detail doesn’t impede a spirited sense of motion. For extra fun, endnotes identify Florentine landmarks. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)