Tiger and Badger

illus. by Marie-Louise Gay. 32p. Candlewick. Feb. 2016. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763666040.
PreS-Gr 1—Jenkins and Gay describe the ups and downs of a friendship between two adorable animals. Simple and repetitive, the dialogue-heavy text rings true. Tiger and Badger argue over who gets to sit in a particular chair, who gets the last popsicle, and whether their stuffed monkey is really a monster, and their exchanges will elicit knowing smiles from parents. The two always manage to make up, however, even when their latest fight leaves both of them lying on the ground howling. The exuberant loose-lined watercolor, acrylic, and pencil illustrations are cartoonlike, with plenty of motion lines and dark clouds that appear over characters' heads to indicate anger. The visuals reinforce the mood in other ways, too; for instance, after Tiger and Badger's big fight, the two are depicted on different sides of the spread, staring accusingly at each other. Jenkins and Gay display an intuitive understanding of a child's mentality, from the chaotic look and feel of the outdoor landscape—haphazardly dotted with trees, grazing cows, chairs, and toys—to the range of emotions that Tiger and Badger experience. The pair go quickly from frustration to tears and tantrums, but they are just as fast to forgive each other.
VERDICT While picture books centering on pals coping with disagreements are common, this gentle and quirky addition is sure to please. A lighthearted yet spot-on look at friendship from a child's point of view.

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