cover image Rock 'n' Roll Mole

Rock 'n' Roll Mole

Carolyn Crimi, illus. by Lynn Munsinger. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3166-0

Mole has a leather jacket and shades, a classic bad boy strut, and a trio of groupies. But he's no poseur. As Crimi (Principal Fred Won't Go to Bed) writes, "He had a rock-and-roll soul" and is a talented guitarist. Trouble is, no one's heard him play except for his best friend Pig%E2%80%94because Mole also suffers from paralyzing stage fright. Can Mole overcome his fears and help Pig, a dancer and budding impresario, pull off the most awesome talent show ever? The answer is never in doubt, but with two veteran collaborators in charge, it doesn't matter. Crimi manages an evenhanded, almost reportorial tone while rocking the rocker's emotional vocabulary ("Mole cranked. He burned. He scorched the stage with his fierce, funky sounds"); as a result, her text never feels like it's trying too hard to be cool. As always, Munsinger (the Jellybeans series) beautifully conveys the all-too-human vulnerability and yearning for connection that animate her anthropomorphized characters. Readers will finish the book ready to put their hands in the air%E2%80%94and then give the entire cast a big hug. Ages 3%E2%80%935. (Aug.)