cover image A Wonderful Year

A Wonderful Year

Nick Bruel. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-611-4

Bad Kitty creator Bruel alternates between goofy humor and gentle reflection in four seasonal episodes starring an unnamed girl in a small town. “Winter Wear” hams it up as family members, pets, and even household objects remind the girl to dress warmly before she goes out. “You’d better wear your gloves,” a purple hippo named Louise calls out. “You’d better wear your hat,” says the refrigerator. “Spring Splendor,” a quieter episode, shows the girl and her dog trying to enlist the cat in their make-believe game with an improvised ballad. “Summer Sidewalks” goes for broke as the girl and Louise the hippo walk along the sidewalk, the girl melts in the heat—literally—and Louise tries reconstituting her in the freezer, her hippo physique adding an extra layer of comedy as she waddles between the freezer and a TV show about a can of beans. In “Fall Foliage,” the girl and a tree ponder the significance of losing all one’s leaves, and the story circles around to the beginning. Bruel offers surefire readaloud laughs as well as space for pondering. Ages 2–6. (Jan.)