cover image Violet and Winston

Violet and Winston

Sonya Sones, Bennet Tramer, , illus. by Chris Raschka. . Dial, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-3234-6

She's a swan, and he's a duck. She tries to be polite; he's clumsy. But even though they bicker, their friendship is rock-solid. Three short but overwritten sketches are built around misunderstandings or breaches of buddy etiquette that are warmly resolved by the final page; the last, “The Garage Sale,” in which Violet convinces shoppers not to buy any of Winston's merchandise because each piece is a memento of their friendship, is husband-and-wife team Sones (What My Mother Doesn't Know ) and Tramer's funniest, albeit in a Disney Channel kind of way (“That mug is... um... cursed!” Violet tells a potential purchaser). Caldecott Medalist Raschka's (The Hello, Goodbye Window ) watercolor-and-ink pictures bloom with lush, bright colors and dense detail, but as comedic vignettes, they fall short. The soft outlines and pastel-like textures not only blunt the humor but also blur the focus—Violet and Winston seem to disappear into their environments, as if they've been camouflaged. Ages 3–5. (Mar.)