Cornbread & Poppy at the Museum

Little, Brown. (Cornbread & Poppy: Bk. 3). Sept. 2023. 80p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780316508476; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9780316508575.
Gr 1-3–Cordell’s bosom friends return for their third adventure in this charming early chapter book series. Cornbread is over the moon when he receives an invitation to a Founders Gala at the Moonville Museum. The gourmet cheeses, curious exhibits, and general fancy atmosphere of the event is a perfect match for Cornbread’s sensibilities. For a lover of adventure and wilderness like Poppy, though, the occasion is anathema. But she dusts off her best hat and puts her best foot forward to attend the gala as Cornbread’s plus-one. Poppy’s mettle is put to the test as she endures the museum attendants shouting “Bagoo! Bagoo!,” holds her nose through the Molds and Fungi exhibit, and is the sudden recipient of attention when a surprising family connection is discovered. But a mishap with Cornbread and a treasured perfumed vase will prove that the two friends will always be there for each other. The fanciful character names and eccentric tone call the works of Lemony Snicket to mind, while Cordell’s scratchy illustrations seem like descendants of Edward Gorey. While the text can stand on its own, it might be better appreciated if read alongside the rodent duo’s previous escapades.
VERDICT A twee answer to “Frog and Toad” that will serve readers of early chapter books looking for more literary fare.

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