cover image The Five Misfits

The Five Misfits

Beatrice Alemagna. Frances Lincoln, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-84780-637-6

Five idiosyncratic outsiders share a topsy-turvy house in Alemagna’s proudly off-kilter story, originally published in Italy. There’s the bean-shaped Punctured One with “four big holes in the middle of his tummy”; the Folded One, whose voluminous body is constructed from overlapping book pages; upside-down and constantly sleepy residents; and a big, gray “bundle of oddities” who “was all wrong, from head to toe.” The arrival of a handsome stranger, the Perfect One, tests the companions’ confidence, but their quirks are quickly revealed to be assets. “I never get upset,” replies the Punctured One. “Anger passes right through me.” Visually, the book is as unusual as its housemates: Alemagna’s mixed-media, collage-style images have a slapdash quality that supports the idea of finding joy in imperfection. Even the so-called Perfect One is something of a weirdo, truth be told, with a beak nose, ginormous pantaloons, and a braid of pink hair to rival Rapunzel’s. Readers who feel hapless and error-prone can take heart in the Wrong One’s syntactically bizarre yet wonderful rallying cry: “I, who am a catastrophe, when I manage to do anything right, it’s time to party!” Ages 2–5. (May)