FICTION

The 5 Misfits

illus. by Beatrice Alemagna. 40p. Frances Lincoln. May 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781847806376.
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PreS-Gr 2—Five misfits who "had never amounted to much in life" discover their worth when they receive an unexpected visit from an "extraordinary fellow" who is "handsome [and] perfect." Alemagna introduces readers to each of these strange creatures, rendered in mixed-media collages that include clippings of French newspapers. One of the misfits is punctured with holes; another is "folded in half"; the third is so feeble, he is constantly "tired and sleepy"; the fourth is "upside down"; and the fifth is just totally "wrong from head to toe." The artist depicts their home with roofs, chimneys, and windows so askew that it all seems ready to fall over. The visitor, on the other hand, looks down on the world from a great height, his face haughty and his upraised arm calling attention to "sublime" red hair that stretches across a spread. When he declares the misfits "GOOD FOR NOTHING!," they notice attributes of which they were previously unaware: the ability to resist becoming angry, to summon a constant supply of happy thoughts, and to see things from a different perspective. In the end, it's the perfect one who ends up the fool, outstretched on the floor, "his mouth agape," while the misfits leave, "happier than ever." The hot pink endpapers reinforce this story's positive message. Both the collages, whose myriad images will captivate readers, and the text will help kids realize that character rather than looks or talents determines a person's value.
VERDICT An offbeat but interesting option for group sharing that would make a good choice for general purchase.

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