cover image Kalinka and Grakkle

Kalinka and Grakkle

Julie Paschkis. Peachtree, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-68263-030-3

Kalinka is a flibbertigibbet with feathers, a butter-yellow bird with a red tuft on her head. Her neighbor, the equally evocatively named Grakkle, is a grouchy green beast with a one-word vocabulary: “Gra-a-akk.” Kalinka decides to tidy up Grakkle’s house (“No bother at all,” she says obliviously. “I’m a very good helper”), a misguided effort on several fronts: she stuffs dirty socks into the woodstove and sticks mail in the toaster. She finally goes too far, sending Grakkle into a rage. The momentarily dire consequences and subsequent détente are familiar, but Paschkis’s innate effervescence more than compensates. She fills the oversize pages with curly ink lines and folk art motifs and colors; it’s cozy and cheery, yet it still delivers on the big dramatic moment. While the narration tends toward the see-and-say, Paschkis writes with concision and an ear for words that make for great readalouds (“Grakkle swatted at the bag. He belched and scratched his head in confusion”). And her message is a sound one: good naps make good neighbors. Ages 4–8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Apr.)