Astrid and the Sky Calf

Child’s Play. (Child’s Play Library). Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781786283542; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781786283535.
K-Gr 2–Dr. Astrid runs her Hospital for Magical Beasts with much sticky tape, potions, bandages, and thread. When Sky Calf flies in (looking very much like a Holstein cow with yellow wings and gold hoop earrings), she is thrilled to meet her first one. But Astrid’s happiness soon turns to frustration—she is unable to determine what is wrong with Sky Calf despite taking her temperature, listening to her heart, and applying sticky tape, which turns out to be a deal breaker for Sky Calf. Not knowing what medical step to take next, Astrid spends the rest of the day hanging out and becoming friends with her patient, which “makes things a lot better.” When she goes to check on her patients the next day, Astrid is delighted to discover that Sky Calf is still there and has brought all the patients together as friends. This solid title has some amusing bits and makes good use of its message. Faragher’s childlike line illustrations featuring a color palette of blues, yellows, and reds depict a wide range of magical (and perplexing) beasts in various stages of recovery. Despite the limitations of her illustrations, most of her characters’ have expressive facial features.
VERDICT The story and the message are spot on, but unfortunately the font choice and illustrations do nothing to enhance them. Purchase as needed.

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