cover image Louis


Tom Lichtenheld, illus. by Julie Rowan-Zoch. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-328-49806-9

The title character is all talk and no action—and that makes him one endearing teddy bear. The problem, according to Louis, is that his life as a beloved stuffed toy has been something just short of a living nightmare: he’s been “x-rayed” (by airport security), “milk-sprayed” (thanks to clumsy cereal preparation), and “mislaid” (left on the bus—and quickly retrieved). Louis is good and ready to walk, but breaking up is hard to do: each time he prepares himself, something holds him back, whether it’s one more cupcake at a dress-up tea party, being made the star of a dramatic show-and-tell describing the bus incident (“1 brave bear” reads the chalkboard), or a cozy late-night snuggle. Digital cartooning by illustrator Rowan-Zoch (You’re One!) is to the point, with a Louis who is expressive without skewing hammy. Lichtenheld’s (When My Brother Gets Home) first-person narration is just the right amount of cranky, rendering Louis as both sympathetic (he does get thrown in the washing machine, after all) and clueless as to how good he has it. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Amy Rennert, the Amy Rennert Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Marcia Wemick, Wemick & Pratt Agency. (Oct.)