cover image Making Scents

Making Scents

Arthur Yorinks, illus. by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline. First Second, $15.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-59643-452-3

Yorinks’s eccentric graphic novel opens as a couple that keeps bloodhounds finds a baby under a tree. They treat Mickey like one of their dogs, insisting that he learn to track like the hounds do. From Mickey’s perspective (he narrates), the bloodhounds are his older siblings, and he idolizes them: “I practiced... and I practiced. I studied. I even prayed.” (He’s seen kneeling before a picture of Jimmy “The Nose” Durante.) Mickey’s unorthodox upbringing means that he’s in constant trouble; on the night of his greatest school triumph, his parents are killed in an accident. Mickey is separated from his dogs, his new guardians are awful, and it’s hard to see how things will work out—but, somehow, they do. Lamb and Paroline’s quirky ink lines soften difficult moments, and their panels—splashed in drab yellow, teal, and orange—shine, especially in the scenes where Mickey learns to track (the elusive scents are traced in pink). Yorinks (The Invisible Man) pulls off a tricky feat; he creates a set of characters who are difficult to like, then makes readers care about them. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (June)