cover image Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

Tracey Corderoy, illus. by Steven Lenton. Candlewick/Nosy Crow, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6838-9

Two hapless canine robbers—a roly- poly bulldog and a tall brown hound—believe they’ve hit on a truly cunning plan: they’ll throw a tea party. “And then, when the neighbors are here having fun,/ we’ll sneak to their houses and rob every one!” But while the scrumptious doughnuts, cupcakes, pies, and “best buns in town!” that Shifty and Sam have whipped up momentarily distract the guests, the pair is invariably caught red-handed. Instead of retribution, however, their victims offer career counseling: “Why don’t you open a café instead?” Corderoy’s (A Flower in the Snow) unobtrusive, let-me-tell-you-a-story rhymes allow Lenton, a British animator making his debut, to take center stage with cheerily frenetic images that look like freeze frames from a cartoon (the style may remind some readers of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends). Lenton works on a single plane but sidesteps staginess by playing with the possibilities of horizontal and vertical space; he’s as adept at depicting an angry mob of zoo animals chasing Shifty and Sam after a botched caper as he is crafting a precarious tower of delicately decorated cupcakes. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)