cover image BOING


Nick Bruel, . . Roaring Brook/Porter, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-002-0

A mother kangaroo tries to teach her joey how to hop by example in Bruel's debut children's book. Mama demonstrates her kinetic prowess, leaping in giant arcs (a dotted line traces her path) to the delight of her child as well as other onlookers: a frog, rabbit and grasshopper. The joey determinedly tries to jump—only to flop to the ground with a resounding "blomp." Each animal demonstrates its own jumping ability, bouncing across the spread from left to right, interjecting encouraging words—"Like this!" and "Don't give up!"—that comprise the book's sparse narrative. But when the kangaroo tries to do the same, it is unable to get off the ground. Finally, a wise-looking koala bear pipes up, "What do you have in your pocket?" The joey excitedly reveals his treasure trove, emptying out toys, a book, "a cool rock I found" and much more. With its load significantly lightened, the tyke leaps into the air in an enormous boing that literally pops up to greet readers. Bruel's cartoons brim with energy and emotion—the joey's expression of concentration as it attempts to leap is priceless, as are the flabbergasted reactions of the animals when they discover the problem. Not a book for bedtime, this tale will likely inspire young readers to hop excitedly along, particularly given the animals' parting words: "Your turn!," "You can do it!" and "It's easy!" Ages 3-7. (Sept.)