cover image Mommy’s New Friend

Mommy’s New Friend

Shelley Tougas, illus. by Sara Palacios. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-62440-6

In this lighthearted exploration of a parent’s bonding with a new partner, Tougas (Finders Keepers) focuses on the situation’s can’ts and cans, beginning with an early-days introduction: “When That Guy picks up Mommy for a date... you can’t stick out your tongue.... But you can fake smile and high-five.” Digitally finished mixed-media spreads from Palacios (Hopefully the Scarecrow) quickly establish the brown-skinned protagonists—impish Lily, expressive Mommy, and That Guy, who wears a gentle smile. As fits and starts with the new partner slowly result in a burgeoning familial relationship, Lily’s trips to pale-skinned Daddy’s house add another close bond to the mix. An underexplored incident around Lily’s learning that “You can’t say he is the guy who picks up your garbage” raises more questions than answers. But the adults work hard at relationship-building, as when Daddy tells Lily that “That Guy seems like a nice guy.” And eventually, with patience and humor—and all three adults cheering on Lily’s science fair rocket project—“That Guy” becomes a beloved member of the family, a beat that gives the story a layered rom-com sensibility. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Susan Hawk, Upstart Crow Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Minju Chang and Kendra Marcus, BookStop Literary. (Feb.)