Are You a Cheeseburger?

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Jun. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063003941.
PreS-K–Refreshingly novel for its unexpected duo of characters, Arnaldo’s digitally illustrated story about a budding friendship between a raccoon and a plant seed will amuse young listeners. Grub the raccoon roots through a trash can for his dinner, only to find a curious, green Seed asking to be planted in the ground. With the fervent hope that Seed will become a cheeseburger plant, Grub cares for him as he sprouts. Grub has never had cheeseburgers before, deeming them “very good and very special,” a handy but subtle metaphor that ultimately reflects the idea of friendship and often pops into the duo’s simple, sometimes silly, conversations. Interpreting such an unembellished message in the story amid the action and creative visuals may require discussion to help reveal how the time Grub and Seed spend growing a special friendship, rather than cheeseburgers, holds the greater value. Arnaldo makes productive use of negative space and crafts different perspectives panel by panel to set the pace of the text and animate her characters; however, insights into Grub and Seed’s emotions are limited, with exception to the conclusive revelation.
VERDICT A delightfully quirky tale about an uncommon pairing of characters that offers light humor and guileless dialogue as they learn to treasure their blossoming friendship.

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