The Kooky Kinkajou

Fabled Films Pr. (The Nocturnals). Sept. 2019. 64p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781944020255; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781944020248.
Gr 1-3–Bismark, a sugar glider, is bored. When his friends fail to convince him that there is always more to see and do, a new friend appears. Karina, a kinkajou, attempts to engage them all in some imaginative play and quickly wins over Bismark’s friends. Bismark, however, remains nonplussed and calls Karina “cuckoo” and “kooky.” It takes a hug and an explanation to persuade Bismark that it can be fun to be a little silly. He never apologizes; he simply says it’s fun to be with Karina. Illustrations are large with multiple spreads and a color palette that is well suited to a story about nocturnal animals. However, the writing feels stilted and didactic and the text layout does not always seem to be related to the illustrations. Sometimes text is centered on the page. Other times, text is aligned left or right. The right alignment could make tracking difficult for readers transitioning into longer stories. Readers able to read at a second to third grade level but still wanting illustrations will be better served by Kate DiCamillo’s “Mercy Watson” books or Fran Manushkin’s “Katie Woo” or “Pedro” series.
VERDICT Purchase where the series has a following.

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