cover image Monsters in the Fog

Monsters in the Fog

Ali Bahrampour. Abrams, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5245-2

“It’s hard to knit a sweater with your hooves,” writes Bahrampour (A Pig in the Palace) in the irresistible opening to this parable about curiosity versus fear, “but Hakim somehow did it.” Now the orange donkey is headed up the mountain to give it to his friend Daisy, who lives at the tippy-top. But the narrow, twisting road is shrouded in fog, and an old goat soon warns Hakim that monsters are afoot. Hakim spots a strange beast with a square head and glaring eyes, but it’s just a dog struggling to carry building materials, a load that Hakim offers to carry in his saddlebags as they continue their journey. More travelers join in the same manner: the pen, ink, and watercolor drawings portray something ghoulish in the fog, which then turns out to be nothing more than, say, a pig carrying umbrellas. Bahrampour has one more surprise for readers before the fog burns away, but the book’s meaning is unmistakable, and even urgent: snap judgments and trepidation are no way to move forward in the world. “Everything looks like a monster in the fog,” Hakim says. “But the closer you get, the less scary it becomes.” Ages 4–8. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary. (June)