cover image Fitz and Cleo (Fitz and Cleo #1)

Fitz and Cleo (Fitz and Cleo #1)

Jonathan Stutzman, illus. by Heather Fox. Holt, $12.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-250-23944-0

Married creative team Stutzman and Fox (Llama Destroys the World) expand into early readers with this bighearted graphic novel, a collection about the exploits of two ghost siblings. In 11 short chapters, best buds Fitz and Cleo bravely explore the strange noises coming from behind the attic door, face off in a brain-freeze-inducing ice cream contest, stargaze, and generally have each other’s backs. Enacting believable sibling dynamics, the duo prove clear opposites, as represented by their interactions with kitty Mister Boo, whom they try to teach the rules of baseball play. Cutesy Cleo, a purple bow atop her head, expresses herself effusively, visually exuding pink hearts upon meeting the gray kitty; know-it-all Fitz, meanwhile, sporting a baseball cap and spectacles, tries to strap the feline to a rocket in the name of “science.” Uncluttered digital line drawings by Fox focus all the attention on Fitz and Cleo, whose simple facial features speak volumes. Dialogue-driven, with plenty of wordplay courtesy of Stutzman, this spirited series debut abounds with heart. Ages 6–9. [em](May) [/em]