cover image So Much in Common

So Much in Common

Laurie A. Jacobs. Boyds Mills Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56397-115-0

In Jacobs's charming and expressive picture book debut, two neighbors forge a friendship despite their obvious differences. Philomena, a frumpy, jovial hippo, is fond of excess; she's first seen bringing a second-hand lamp and chair into her already cluttered house. Horace, on the other hand, is a prickly, buttoned-down gazelle; he totes a used lamp and chair to the curb, saying, ``If it's not essential, out it goes.'' But Horace enjoys Philomena's cooking, Philomena loves Horace's sense of humor, and the two become inseparable--against the advice of their opinionated, gossipy friends. Jacobs's concise narrative cleverly echoes real-life situations, including a reconciliation after a petty fight. Gorbachev's illustrations, rendered in stippled, jerky ink lines and subdued watercolor hues, bring the characters playfully to life: Philomena's pleasing coquettishness shines through her enthusiastic grin, while starchy Horace's gruff demeanor visibly softens in Philomena's presence. (The artist's only false move is a slight one--his likeness of an ``anchovy'' pizza comes out as a pepperoni pie.) Memorable. Ages 3-8. (July)