cover image Gurple and Preen: A Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure

Gurple and Preen: A Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure

Linda Sue Park, illus. by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3141-6

The spaceship carrying the robots Gurple and Preen, a crayon-drawn human crew in boxed “pods,” and a cargo of crayons has crashed on a desolate planet. “How are we ever going to repair the ship?” frets Park’s (Nya’s Long Walk) pessimistic, purple Gurple: “We need solar-powered batteries, fusion plasma engines, magnetic force fields.” Gurple proceeds to snap a series of crayons in half and fume that the drawing each emits (a blue tablecloth, a flock of brown quails) is useless. But Preen, who has a snappy bow propeller atop her bright green domed body, carries away the contents, incorporates or enlists them into a cleverly improvised repair job (in a possible Anne Lamott reference, “Preen rounded up the quails, bird by bird by bird”). When the awakened crew expresses admiration, Breen explains, via the sheepish Gurple’s translation, that her method is “the way you do anything hard... Step by step by step.” The story begins with more of a lurch than a smooth liftoff, and the hazy initial definition of “pods” may confuse readers, but the protagonists’ relationship—reminiscent of C-3PO and R2-D2—gives it ballast. Ohi’s (I’m Worried) energetic digital cartooning, which includes elements of crayoning and collage, captures the fun of seeing a robot MacGyver making change, one task at a time. Ages 4–8. [em](Aug.) [/em]