Best Brother Ever!: Ready-to-Read Graphics Level 1

S. & S./Simon Spotlight. (Figgy & Boone). Sept. 2022. 64p. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781665914482.
PreS-Gr 1–This story sets out to keep things simple for beginning readers, with easy sentences and light text, although it begins with a point of confusion: Figgy and Boone are not technically brothers, as suggested by the title. Figgy is a sweet, perky mouse interested primarily in expressing affection for Boone, his slightly taller, somewhat smarter, bespectacled rat companion. Boone gently points out that they can’t be brothers, as they are different species. In Figgy’s ensuing search for a sibling, he runs through the ranks of other rodents, eventually stumbling into some high jinks with an exceedingly cute feline nemesis. Finally, Boone must concede that friendship and a common foe bind them as closely as family. As an introduction to the graphic novel format for young readers, Figgy and Boone are compelling leads and great companions, and the story is clear of distractions or complicated imagery. The plot is simple, the action is straightforward, and Trasler’s illustrations are just steps away from stick-figure simplicity. That threatens to make it a bit forgettable—the characters’ rapport is reminiscent of that found in Mo Willems’s “Elephant and Piggie” books without giving the characters definition or energy beyond their basic interactions. This may be an opportunity for later volumes to build on.
VERDICT A quick and silly rodent-happy romp, this book provides a fun and funny opportunity for reading practice.

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