cover image The New Rooster

The New Rooster

Rilla Alexander. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-9345-2

Linguistics, home cooking, and eye-popping graphics make splendid bedfellows in Alexander’s (Swarm of Bees) tale of a feathered friend finding his professional footing. A yellow polka-dotted rooster with a comb and wings of fire-engine red parachutes in “just in time for his new job in a new country”: waking up the guests at ZZZ Hotel. “OCKCAY AWAY OODLEDAY OODAY!” he cries, “just as he had every morning back home.” But none of the animal guests even stirs (a dog snuggled in bed with a teddy bear snores away), and when the rooster becomes even more insistent, the guests respond to the wake-up call with interjections of annoyance in multiple languages. Sure that he’s failed, the rooster cooks a hearty breakfast to sustain him on the long trek back home. But the smells rouse the guests, who “shared and smiled and chatted” before teaching the rooster how to crow in each of their native languages. (The final page confirms the rooster’s mother tongue as pig Latin.) Rubber stamp, ink, and digital collage illustrations are the very picture of rise-and-shine sunniness, with big bold shapes and a crafty aesthetic that makes every scene an invitation to chat and chew. Ages 4–8. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (July)