cover image Valensteins


Ethan Long. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61963-433-6

The monsters and animals from 2015’s Fright Club are back, and one of them, Fran K. Stein, has love on his mind. “Hmm. Pink paper... Scissors... Glue... Are you making a mask?” guesses vampire Vladimir, turning two pink hearts into oversize fangs. “It looks like a paper butt!” the resident ghost chimes in. A lesson in what love means follows, leaving the creatures thoroughly disgusted—mushy feelings and the possibility of “kissing someone on the lips” terrify this crowd. There are lots of laughs to be found in Long’s twilit cartoons and the banter among the characters, including the response of the recipient of Fran’s valentine (“Tee-hee! It looks like a paper butt”). Long strikes a neat balance, recognizing how awkward Valentine’s Day can be for kids and how exciting those same feelings can be. Ages 3–6. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Dec.)