cover image Digestion! The Musical

Digestion! The Musical

Adam Rex, illus. by Laura Park. Chronicle, $16.99 (76p) ISBN 978-1-4521-8386-2

If Alexander Hamilton can have his own hit musical, why shouldn’t the digestive system, too? The protagonist of this picture book is round, bright pink ingenue Li’l Candy, “junk food” with a “heart of gold,” who dreams of being eaten. Her story is elucidated by a Greek chorus of baby carrots (“Peristalsis squeezing has her easing toward the tummy./ But by golly! All this teasing sure can make a crumb feel crummy”). The human body’s disdain for Candy (“Empty calories! You’ll never make anything of yourself here!”) provides big-city-level conflict, at last resolved when Candy’s coating melts away and reveals she’s a peanut with some nutritional value. Cue the final showstopper (and surefire reader favorite), featuring a mirrorball-style toilet: “Get. This. Potty. Started./ Everybody Pants Down!” The jewel-toned digital artwork spotlights Broadway gloss and Andrew Lloyd Webber–spoofing visual drama, with frequent cues to turn the book sideways for vertical views of Candy’s journey. Featuring verve aplenty, it’s another boffo hit by collaborators Rex and Park (Unstoppable). Ages 5–8. Agent (for Rex and Park): Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)