cover image Donut Feed the Squirrels (Norma and Belly #1)

Donut Feed the Squirrels (Norma and Belly #1)

Mika Song. Random House Graphic, $12.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-984895-83-7

This Robin Hood–tinged graphic novel by Song (Love, Sophia on the Moon) gives a blow-by-blow account of a doughnut heist carried out by improbably named squirrels Norma and Belly. Their target? A red doughnut truck run by a grouchy human proprietor who not only spurns payment in chestnuts but also sprays them with a water bottle. If he’s not willing to accept honest payment, they conclude, they’re justified in turning to crime. Norma (whose head is triangular) and Belly (who’s built like a fire hydrant) enlist the help of squirrel colleagues Gramps, who disguises himself as a throwaway coffee cup, and Little Bee, who supplies the getaway roller skate. Their scheme produces doughnuts for everybody, and an unexpected treat for the doughnut purveyor. Drawing with graceful ink lines and colored wash, Song capitalizes on comic moments: the way the spray bottle turns Norma and Belly into unrecognizable floofs, the Rube Goldberg–like machinery of the doughnut maker, and the precariously balanced tower of stolen goods. Norma and Belly are never snarky; instead, they present a consistent mix of enterprise, wit, and cheer. Even the doughnut man emerges as a character who’s open to change. Ages 5–8. Agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary Studio. (Sept.)