cover image Friends Do Not Eat Friends (Thunder and Cluck #1)

Friends Do Not Eat Friends (Thunder and Cluck #1)

Jill Esbaum, illus. by Miles Thompson. Simon Spotlight, $17.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8651-5

Predator and prey form an unconventional friendship in this early graphic novel series starter. Thunder, a towering orange and purple theropod with craggy teeth, spines, and a big tail, expects a different reaction when roaring at snoozing Cluck, a diminutive, whip-thin dinosaur in shades of blue and yellow. Instead of running away, however, Cluck maintains a blasé demeanor, replying, “Oh. Hello,” while kicking back against a rock. As Thunder attempts to explain why Cluck should become afraid (“I roar. You run. I chase... and CHOMP you!”), relayed in Esbaum’s simple, snappy prose, Cluck doubles down on a breezy attitude, asserting, much to Thunder’s chagrin, that Thunder is “secretly nice” and in need of a friend—“and friends do not eat friends.” Vivid digital art by Thompson highlights movements both sinuous and stompy as well as over-the-top expressions. A familiar dynamic doesn’t detract from this cheery, comedic romp, ideal for the youngest dinosaur lovers. Front matter features a guide for reading comics. Ages 4–6. (June)