cover image Cranky Right Now

Cranky Right Now

Julie Berry, illus. by Holly Hatam. Sounds True, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-68364-664-8

This companion to the collaborators’ Happy Right Now marks the return of their narrator, a child with brown skin. An opening scene finds the child beneath a blanket fort, warning a guardian with an Afro: “I’m cranky right now, and I have my reasons.” A comprehensive enumeration of wrongs and slights follows, from younger brother annoyances to parental hypocrisy when it comes to snacking; many of the scenes are anchored by the presence of a calm, slightly bemused guardian. Readers will savor the child’s assertion: “You’d be cranky, too, if you lived with this much injustice.” Hatam boosts the gentle comedy with mixed media, cartoon-style illustrations. The book’s ultimate message—moods pass—is familiar, but there’s an amusing twist when, after a restorative nap, Berry’s charming text breaks into rhyme: “If you’re cranky, I get it,” the child magnanimously tells her once-scorned little brother. “Use my blankie, don’t sweat it.” Ages 4–8. [em](May)