Lemon Bird: Can Help!

Random House Graphic. Aug. 2022. 112p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780593122679.
Gr 1-4–Lemon Bird desperately wants to learn how to fly. While practicing one day, she comes across a sad, orange Pupkin entangled in garden vines and frees him. The duo then meet up with other pupkins and make their way back to the farmhouse. In the middle of the night, mischievous Pupkin wakes Lemon Bird up for some late night shenanigans that result in them falling asleep amidst the vegetable harvest in the farmer’s truck bed. When they wake up, they are dismayed to learn that they are in town and without a ride! Now Lemon Bird and Pupkin must find their way home—helping others and making friends along the way. This short graphic novel is a plot-driven, accessible first foray into fantasy, thanks in part to the dominant role of the adorable, highly expressive fruit animals. The simple but appealing storyline has a heartwarming message emphasizing themes of positivity and persistence. Young readers will relate to Lemon Bird’s frustration and repeated efforts at trying to master a desperately desired skill. Because the plot revolves around an animal’s point of view, the worldbuilding details are conveyed largely through the vibrantly colored visuals rather than through text. The action lines and sound effects within the varied page layouts are visually engaging and help to move the story along at a brisk pace. Additional materials include “How to Draw Lemon Bird” instructions, fruit animals examples, and a short bonus comic.
VERDICT Sure to be a hit among young readers starting to get into graphic novels, especially fans of Pea, Bee, & Jay and Owly. Recommended purchase for public and school libraries.

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