Kat and Juju

Amazon/Two Lions. Jul. 2020. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781542043281.
PreS-Gr 1–Kat feels like the odd girl out—curious about other kids, but too shy and set in her ways to approach them or make friends. She looks forward to her birthday when “her best friend would arrive”—a mysterious animal companion who turns out to be a giant friendly bird named Juju. Unlike Kat, Juju is brave and outgoing, undaunted by anyone’s opinion. When the duo finds an abandoned chick, they raise it despite many challenges, and even teach it to fly. Helping the little bird somehow inspires Kat to let go of inhibitions and befriend other children. Vahdani’s illustrations use a selective palette with reds and light blues, vivid against the muted shades of grey, with bobble-headed large-eyed characters and cinematic changes in angles and perspective.
VERDICT A sweet if somewhat scattered tale of embracing one’s uniqueness, its message of challenging insecurities and forming friendships at once important yet haphazardly developed.

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