cover image Oh No, the Aunts Are Here

Oh No, the Aunts Are Here

Adam Rex, illus. by Lian Cho. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-7972-0794-0

Via a quartet of unconditionally, relentlessly loving aunts, Rex (Gladys the Magic Chicken) and Cho (It Began with Lemonade) breathe new life into a staple of kid humor: the older, oblivious-to-personal-space relative. Exasperatedly observed second-person text and bustling watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil art brim with warmhearted exaggeration as the boisterous aunts, shown with varying skin tones, practically bust down the door to swarm their beloved nibling, a child portrayed with brown skin. Commandeering the following spreads and kitted out with fanny packs, lip balm, and sun visors (yes, one wears a “World’s Best Aunt” T-shirt), they brandish “a dollar and a mint... a newspaper article... and a very small packet of peanuts”; pepper their overwhelmed charge with questions (“Do you still like toy horses?” “When did you stop liking horses?”); and fill the air with the smell of their lotion. In a turn of events that melds comedy and fantasy, the child realizes that the aunts are good people to have on one’s side—they’re mighty hand-sanitizer-wielding champions whose care makes one feel “warm as a coconut.” It’s a high-spirited, high-comedy portrait of intrusive, effusive relatives one can count on. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (May)