cover image I Don’t Like Koala

I Don’t Like Koala

Sean Ferrell, illus. by Charles Santoso. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0068-8

Koala, a limp and shaggy stuffed animal, receives dismissive treatment at the hands of a child named Adam. From the boy’s perspective, “Koala is the most terrible terrible. He has terrible eyes that follow Adam everywhere he goes,” and indeed Koala’s glassy, mismatched eyes gaze in different directions. Adam stashes the toy throughout the house, and multiple panels picture Koala hanging out of a handbag, plopped under a couch, and shoved behind a plant. Each morning, however, Adam awakens to Koala on his pillow, startlingly “closer than close.” But when Adam anxiously scans the fingery shadows on his bedroom wall, he dreads “a more terrible terrible” and grips Koala for protection. Although adult author Ferrell’s (Man in the Empty Suit) reliance on one adjective echoes too-precious toddler talk, he gives a persuasive and funny account of Adam and Koala’s love-hate relationship. Santoso’s (Max Makes a Cake) witty, elegant pencil illustrations suggest how Adam’s parents aid and abet the situation. In the end, Adam and Koala snuggle contentedly, while Adam’s father—restating the title—nails the punch line. Ages 4–8. Author’s agency: FinePrint Literary. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Apr.)