cover image Herman and Rosie

Herman and Rosie

Gus Gordon. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-856-9

While the title makes it sound like they’re a couple, Australian author/illustrator Gordon’s crocodile hero and deerlike heroine remain unknown to one another until the penultimate spread, even though they live in adjacent buildings and have important things in common: a love of music (oboe for him, jazz singing for her) and “watching films about the ocean.” But that’s life in the big city—New York City, in particular, which Gordon brings alive through lyrical drawings and inventive collage. His soul-mate characters are equally terrific: two sweet but lonely souls (think Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine—or maybe it’s Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) who live in tiny apartments and eke out a living while keeping their wistful chins up. If it sounds too sophisticated for the target audience, rest assured it isn’t (although some may grow anxious when both characters lose their jobs). Readers of all ages will fall for Herman and Rosie from the start, and Gordon knows how to keep the dramatic and romantic tension just taut enough to keep the pages turning toward their inevitable meeting. Ages 7–10. (Oct.)