Baloney and Friends

Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2020. 96p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781368054546.
Gr 1-3–Like countless lovably naive children’s book characters before him, such as Ben Claton’s Narwhal and Sam Garton’s Otter, Baloney the pig may not always know what’s going on, but he approaches every adventure with enthusiasm. His best friend Peanut D. Horse is a stalwart if slightly dim-witted companion, while patient Bizz E. Bee serves as a much-needed voice of reason. Rounding out the quartet is the aptly named Krabbit, the crabby rabbit, who usually chimes in with an eye roll and a huffy “Whatever!” An endearing hero, Baloney will elicit giggles from readers. Putting on a magic show for his pals, Baloney makes a carrot disappear by asking his audience to close their eyes and then gobbling it up. Next, fearful of the wading pool, Baloney makes excuse after excuse, before finally donning goggles, swimmies, and an inner tube. Dialogue is simple yet brims with humor, and the speech bubbles are colored to match the character who is speaking (Baloney’s are orange, like him; Peanut’s are blue)—a helpful feature for those new to reading comic panels. Set against white backdrops, Pizzoli’s cartoons have a spare, childlike style, reminiscent of Mo Willems’s “Pigeon” stories. Readers won’t want Baloney’s adventures to end; fortunately, the book ends with directions on how to draw each of the characters so that fans can create their own stories.
VERDICT Baloney and friends are the perfect next step for fans of Gerald and Piggie who are transitioning to chapter books.

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