Fitz and Cleo

Holt. (Fitz and Cleo: Bk. 1). May 2021. 64p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781250239440.
K-Gr 3–Ghosts Fitz and Cleo aren’t just brother and sister; they’re best friends, too. When they’re startled by a mysterious “THUMP!” from the attic, they discover a cat, whom Cleo dubs “Mr. Boo.” The siblings discuss the best and worst things about cats: They’re cute! They’re cuddly! They like to sleep on top of Fitz’s head! Fitz and Cleo then visit the beach, eat ice cream, and fly paper airplanes, all while bonding—and building readers’ hopes for future sequels. Most pages feature delineated panels with clear narrative flow from one to the next. The adorable chibi character art is engaging. Stutzman and Fox’s pivot from picture books to graphic novels is a perfect expansion of their growing body of collaborative work. Though the characterizations play into gender stereotypes (Fitz is smart and nerdy and wears a baseball cap; Cleo wears a bow and squeals over how adorable Mr. Boo is), the story doesn’t suffer for it and should prove very popular.
VERDICT This new duo will float off shelves, and fans of Ben Clanton’s “Narwhal and Jelly,” Mo Willems’s “Elephant and Piggie,” Bob Shea’s “Ballet Cat,” and Salina Yoon’s “Duck, Duck, Porcupine” will be delighted.

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