Kalinka and Grakkle

illus. by Julie Paschkis. 32p. Peachtree. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781682630303.
K-Gr 2—Two mismatched acquaintances speak a language of their own in this fictitious tale that reads more like a modern-day fable. Kalinka, a small yellow bird, fancies herself to be a good helper. Grakkle, on the other hand, is a messy and burly beast. After flying into Grakkle's house uninvited, Kalinka unilaterally decides to tidy things up a bit. However, instead of putting things in order, she makes a mess of her own. From placing pencils into a spaghetti box, mail in the toaster, and placing a bow on Grakkle's head, Kalinka flutters around completing a series of self-gratifying tasks. A frustrated Grakkle tries to send her away to no avail. Kalinka continues to remain oblivious to her own brash behavior until one final event sends Grakkle into a fury and lands Kalinka in a world of trouble. Fortunately, they each receive an opportunity to learn an important lesson about the value of self-control and are able to coexist happily and/or "messily" ever after as friends. A strong emphasis on friendship provides a solid theme for this book. Of course, Paschkis's ink-and-gouache illustrations shine, but they do not make up for the predictable plot or flat humor.
VERDICT A mildly entertaining choice with strong lessons about self-control, this book is an additional purchase but definitely not a top pick.

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