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FICTION

After Squidnight

Penguin Workshop. Jul. 2020. 32p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781524793081.
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PreS-Gr 2–Fenske (Barnacle Is Bored) brings his oceanic humor to a tale of inky squid mischief. Shortly after midnight, when everyone’s asleep, squids creep from the ocean to find a place to leave their marks since, “In water, squid art does not stay. Inky drawings drift away.” The squids want to bring their art to you the reader, so they sneak into your house, leaving humorous graffiti all over the house’s hallway, bathroom, kitchen, and of course, your room. They make their marks on the walls, and on your toys. The second-person narration engages readers from the outset, and with quippy rhyming pentameter, makes for a fun read-aloud that begs to be voiced in an ominous tone. With bold lines, the illustrations play with perspective and shadow, and use a minimalist palette of black, grey, and turquoise. The squids’ drawings add their own oily, meta three-dimensional quality to the book. Just as dawn arrives, the last squid is shown slinking out the window, leaving “you” as culprit of the inky crimes.
VERDICT Funny, doom-filled bedtime reading at its best.

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