cover image Parfait, Not Parfait!

Parfait, Not Parfait!

Scott Rothman, illus. by Avery Monsen. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-26581-4

The neat parfait presented in this picture book has everything: the whipped cream, the colorful filling, the cherry on top, and the fancy glass. But that’s not enough for Rothman (Attack of the Underwear Dragon) and Monsen (Chester Van Chime Who Forgot How to Rhyme), who see this dessert as a launchpad for some supremely silly riffs about both the “what does not belong” grouping exercises so familiar to kids, and idiosyncrasies of spelling and pronunciation. The book begins with an opening image of the colorful treat, labeled simply “parfait.” Turning the pages, readers see that both a mallard duck and Abraham Lincoln fall into the category of “not parfait.” Soon, the book takes a turn, musing on non-parfait things that share an ending “ay” sound: a shar-pei, a toupee, and a gourmet buffet replete with flambé—“Hooray!” But even as tidy logic gives way to elaboration (a “not parfait” involves the duck sporting Lincoln’s signature beard and stovepipe hat), the book’s craftsmanship is never in doubt. The creators’ comic timing is worthy of a chef’s kiss, with digitally enhanced acrylic paintings that embrace the tomfoolery without overplaying it, and which offer additional “ay”-sounding visual jokes for close readers. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Erica Silverman, Stimola Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (July)