cover image Baloney and Friends (Baloney and Friends #1)

Baloney and Friends (Baloney and Friends #1)

Greg Pizzoli. Little, Brown, $12.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-368-05454-6

In a mix of short comics and single-spread minicomics, this first in an amiable new graphic novel series from Pizzoli (The Book Hog) introduces early readers to four animal pals and their friendship’s dynamics. The titular Baloney, an eager-looking orange pig, breaks the fourth wall early on: “Hello! I’m Baloney! This is MY book.” But when his friends arrive—Peanut, an excitable blue horse; upbeat yellow bee Bizz; and Krabbit, a grumpy purple rabbit—Baloney is forced to amend his earlier statement: “OKAY, FINE!...This is our book.” Star or no, Baloney is the most fully fleshed out of the group, and subsequent stories explore his emotional reactions against those of his more archetypal companions. In brief stories featuring a magic performance (with a humorous lack of magic), a fear of swimming, and a case of the blues, Baloney’s reactions serve as a proxy for readers’. Pizzoli’s approachable art style communicates emotions and personalities through exaggerated facial expressions that should be clear to readers moving into chapter books. Back matter includes simple instructions for drawing each character. Ages 5–8. [em]Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.) [/em]