cover image We Forgot Brock!

We Forgot Brock!

Carter Goodrich. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8090-2

With his skull-and-crossbones T-shirt, amplified musculature, scraggly hair, and ninja swords, Brock looks like he rode his chopper straight off the set of Sons of Anarchy. But he’s actually the best friend ever, and Phillip adores him. Brock is also imaginary—“Whatever that means,” says the sympathetic narrator. Then one day, Brock is separated from Phillip at the Big Fair; lost and lonely, he’s taken in by a girl and her imaginary friend, the resplendently girly Princess Sparkle Dust. Pretty soon, “the three of them began to invent games and tell each other stories.” Has Brock moved on for good? Goodrich (Mister Bud Wears the Cone) draws Brock and the Princess Sparkle Heart with the loving crayonlike work (black for Brock, purple for the princess) of a child artist; they’re flattened, cut-out figures in a dimensional, full-color world, but their emotional vividness is as clear as can be. What starts as a familiar story of pretend play and dramatic irony turns into something stranger and more beautiful—a Möbius strip of fantasy and reality, with happy endings all around. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)