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Harold & Hog Pretend For Real!

SANTAT, Dan & . Harold & Hog Pretend For Real! illus. by Dan Santat Mo Willems. 64p. (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!). Disney/Hyperion May 2019. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781368027168. POP
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PreS-Gr 2–Santat and Willems pair up a hilarious installment in the series with a hysterical portrayal of metafiction for kids. Harold and Hog are huge fans of Gerald and Piggie. So much so, they decide to play dress up and pretend to be them. Harold dons glasses, and Hog wears a "Piggie" nose over his own, but it is far more of a challenge when it comes to embodying their personalities. Hog is not as carefree as Piggie, and Harold doesn't quite understand what it means to be careful like Gerald. This realization is a test of Harold and Hog's friendship—how can they be best friends like Gerald and Piggie if they can't be like them? Just as in every "Elephant and Piggie" book, friendship is tested and readers are led to a satisfying ending. Santat's detailed art style mirrors Willems's simplicity, but is distinct enough to let readers know that they are in a different world than his. Willems's readers will be thrilled at the choices that Santat makes in art and text, subtle and overt. Whether if it's picking up on the "stage" they create or when a familiar Easter egg is used, all will have readers rolling with laughter.
VERDICT A fun addition for most libraries, perfect for fans of Gerald and Piggie.–Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR

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