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The Two Mutch Sisters

Carol Brendler, illus. by Lisa Brown. Clarion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-43074-7

Ruby and Violet Mutch are born with the collecting bug and grow up with two of everything: “Two sundials, two snorkels, two bouffant wigs, two whirligigs.” By the time they become adults, and their individual styles have emerged—Ruby is 1960s bohemian, Violet leans toward hygge—there’s too much Mutch stuff. Despite Violet’s pleas, Ruby decamps to her own house on the other side of town. “I have made everything just right,” she tells Violet smugly. “And I like it.” But Violet knows—as only a sister can—that Ruby isn’t as happy as she seems, and she takes matters into her own hands. Ruby’s dismissive treatment of Violet may surprise some readers, but overall Brendler (The Pickwicks’ Picnic) and Brown (Goldfish Ghost) keep the mood light—particularly when it comes to Violet’s methods for bringing about a reunion with her sister (it involves “pneumatic jacks, a stack of sleds, a chest of tools, a pack of mules”). By the story’s end, the message is unmistakable and reassuring: love is thicker than clutter. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Vincent Comes Home

Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62672-780-9

Spouses Jessixa Bagley (Boats for Papa) and Aaron Bagley (Rocking Fatherhood) collaborate on a story set on a container ship that sails the world’s oceans. “I can’t wait to get home,” says the first mate. “Whenever I go home, I never want to leave,” adds the cook. “Where is this Home place?” wonders Vincent, the freighter’s cat. Vincent soon understands, when the ship docks and he follows the sailors to their houses, watching as their loved ones greet them. “Home is where the people who love you are,” Vincent realizes. Maybe he doesn’t have a home, he worries—until the freighter’s concerned captain finds him and brings him to back to the ship (cleverly named the Domus). The Bagleys’ pen-and-watercolor spreads offer all kinds of visual information: views of Vincent’s changing emotions, portraits of the crew members, and sweeping vistas of coastal scenery. Families and homes don’t all look alike, the Bagleys conclude, but they are equally valuable. A bonus: setting this domestically focused tale aboard a ship draws transport-loving readers into conversations about the inner lives of the people who make them go. Ages 4–6. Agent: Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Car

Kate Dopirak, illus. by Mary Peterson. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8803-7

Dopirak (You’re My Boo) and Peterson (Dig In!) team up for a soothing and smartly executed vehicular riff on a familiar lullaby. The title character—a cheerful, googly-eyed convertible—decides to go out for a nighttime spin: “Twinkle, twinkle, little car,/ how you love to travel far! Now it’s time to go to bed./ But you want to drive instead.” Cruising into town, the auto gives good-night beeps to its pals: tractors dozing in a shed, big machines wrapping up work at a construction site, wide-awake emergency response vehicles on call, and a parade of “trucks and taxis, buses too.” Despite all of the racing around, Dopirak keeps the mood even-keeled, and the subdued palette of Peterson’s digitally colored linoleum block prints does the same. Her chunky nighttime scenes are dominated by swaths of muted gray-blue that contrast with bright white headlight beams and a looping golden road. Even the vehicles’ interspersed honks and sirens never get too rowdy, printed in a small, almost polite font. Up to age 8. Author’s agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

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