cover image Bad Guy

Bad Guy

Hannah Barnaby, illus. by Mike Hamada. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6010-1

“Mom calls me Sweetie Pie and Buddy Bear,” says Barnaby’s (Some of the Parts) narrator. “But I am not those things. I am bad.” In vivid vignettes with the feel of animation stills, the eye-patch-wearing boy lives up to his villainous self-image by vanquishing his sister, Alice, in various pretend-play scenarios. “On Tuesday I sailed the seven seas and kept all the treasure for myself,” he recounts (Alice is shown tied to a tree); on Friday, he dumps spaghetti on her head and makes believe that he’s eating her brain. But Alice turns the tables on Saturday: she ensnares her brother in a classic net trap, then taunts him by eating “all the orange Popsicles right in front of me.” Yamada (Kai to the Rescue!) gives Alice a determined glare that generally makes her look more like someone biding her time than a victim. But her triumph falls somewhat flat—her nemesis is bratty and mean, but not much else, and it’s hard to care about the comeuppance of a one-dimensional character. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (May)