cover image Seals Are Jerks!

Seals Are Jerks!

Jared Chapman. Orchard, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-3388-3568-7

Chapman (the Crab and Snail series) explores what it means to be a fan when the object of one’s adoration has a less than stellar character. Child Lorelei, portrayed with light brown skin and a missing front tooth, loves seals—their “big adorable eyes,” “goofy bark,” and most of all, how they’re clearly buddies with penguins. “In every seal photo she had ever seen, there was a penguin nearby.” But when Lorelei presents this information to her class, a new student—an actual penguin—refutes this claim outright: “No, seals are jerks.... Seals eat penguins.” A quick trip to Antarctica results in a shocking confirmation: after some hedging, a seal admits, “How could I be friends with something that delicious?” Unfussy digital cartooning, casually funny dialogue (“Busted!” proclaims one penguin as Lorelei questions the seal), and ripped-from-the-headlines relevance make this picture book humorous and thought-provoking, and the ending offers up sage honesty. When Lorelei, comprehending the reality of the food chain, asks “Is everyone a jerk?” the seal wisely responds, “We’re just wild animals and in nature, some things are just the way they re.” Antarctica facts conclude. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.)