cover image Henny, Penny, Lenny, Denny, and Mike

Henny, Penny, Lenny, Denny, and Mike

Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Mike Austin. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4523-8

Fish buddies Henny, Penny, Lenny, Denny, and Mike live a glorious life in their tank—except on “clean the fish tank day,” when they are “unceremoniously plopped into a bowl.” But their newly sparkling home is worth it, and things get even better with three additions to the tank: a clownfish, an angelfish, and a fairy castle. When Lenny gets stuck inside the castle, an underdog snail—ignored but always nearby—saves the day. Rylant’s text is gushingly enthusiastic (“Can fish-tank life be any more perfect than this? Why, yes!”), and a surplus of sound effects and all-caps display type create the sense of a book quickly moving from readaloud to screamaloud. Austin’s multitextured digital cartoons are equally high-energy, combining the crispness of collage with bold shades of pink, orange, purple, and blue. Underneath the geeked-up antics is a subtle reminder that even when life seems downright blissful, there are some (like a certain overlooked snail) who could use a little attention and care. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Sept.) [/em]