Pig and Horse and the Something Scary

Zoey Abbott. Abrams, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4501-0
After reading in bed one night, Pig now has “something in my head, and it is scaring me.” Fortunately, her good friend Horse is at the ready to help. When distractions such as bike rides and swimming don’t work (though the two are adorable in goggles and water wings), Horse suggests they get Pig’s feelings on the table, literally—they invite all the anxiety producers to an elaborate tea. Abbott’s (Marty) winsome gouache, colored pencil, and ink art gets down to brass tacks in conveying fears made manifest: the night is a sooty swirl of brushstrokes, loneliness resembles a replicating purple blob (“sticky and thick like jam”), and the scary story Pig read the night before takes the shape of a fiercely angular blue dog. But instead of confronting these anxieties, Pig and Horse mollify and mitigate them; the night and loneliness shrink in response to eating tea goodies, and when the dog runs away in pursuit of a thrown object, Pig feels “a great weight lift from her shoulders. She felt the corners of her mouth lift, too.” If the story covers well-trod picture book fodder, the protagonists are a model of supportive friendship, and there’s great appeal in the idea that dealing with darker emotions doesn’t require bravery as much as it does a smart plan and a good pal. Ages 4–8. Agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/21/2021
Release date: 01/01/2022
Genre: Children's
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