cover image The Moon Is a Ball: Stories of Panda & Squirrel

The Moon Is a Ball: Stories of Panda & Squirrel

Ed Franck, illus. by Thé Tjong-Khing, trans. from the Dutch by David Colmer. Gecko, $19.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-77657-493-3

In this mellow chapter book readaloud, likable best buddies Panda and Squirrel argue, philosophize, play, test, and care for one another over the course of nine interlinked short tales that articulate the importance of companionship. In “A Long Journey,” the pair take a literally snail-paced approach to adventure, discovering that the life of the mind can transport one just as far as steps on a path. “Dollop” sees the two besties naming their feelings after they care for an abandoned duckling. And “Who Are You?” presents the playfellows grappling with Panda’s temporary amnesia after an accident. Throughout, straightforward writing centers the friends’ devotion, giving space to expressive dialogue (“I’m never bored when I’m with you”) and affectionate acts (“Squirrel puts her paw in Panda’s big paw”). As Franck models charming rapport and low-stakes companionship, Tjong-Khing’s delicate artwork provides nature-filled scenes of glorious suns and a bamboo forest. Ages 4–10. (Apr.)