cover image The Retired Kid

The Retired Kid

Jon Agee, . . Hyperion, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4231-0314-1

“It's been a wonderful eight years... but I need a break,” says Brian, exhausted from school, soccer and broccoli-eating. Toting golf clubs, he boards a plane to Florida. At the Happy Sunset Retirement Community, Brian plays cards, naps in undisturbed turquoise pools and learns that retirement entails “looking at hundreds of snapshots of Myrtle's grandchildren, or watching long documentaries on TV”; he frowns at early-morning yoga and gags on “prune juice smoothies.” Drafted in crayony black line with daubs of gouache, Agee's (Milo's Hat Trick ) orderly images of landscaped lawns, neat palm trees and low-rise condos ironically suggest a hushed relaxation antithetical to Brian's energy level. When a fellow retiree suggests Brian “think back to the good old days,” the boy fondly recalls acing a math test, hitting the perfect note at a violin lesson and playing with his dog, then decides to come out of retirement. “I love my job!” he concludes. Agee has perfected the art of satire that is not only devoid of archness but even makes room for sympathy. Witty and fresh, yet not irreverent. Ages 4–8. (June)