Mario Makes a Move

illus. by author. 32p. CIP. Random. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-375-86854-2; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-96854-9. LC 2011011014.
PreS-Gr 1—Mario is a frenetic squirrel whose "amazing" acrobatic high jinks impress his family but not his bespectacled friend Isabelle. Not only does she put down his best trick, but she also comes up with a more impressive one of her own and points out that everyone can have special moves. Crushed, Mario abandons his beloved but no longer unique hobby in favor of collecting "amazing" sticks (amusingly labeled with little name tags). Isabelle persuades him to return to his spiffy move-making. Teaming up, they teach each other new stunts and somewhat predictably, "everyone was amazed." There's something inherently humorous about squirrels, and McElmurry amplifies that quality in her stylized gouache illustrations. The mostly orange, light blue, and gray spreads are populated with comically expressive critters and graph-paper diagrams of their maneuvers. The last page features a "If You Are a Squirrel" list, which is full of interesting and potentially giggle-inducing facts about the animal. Though not quite "amazingly amazing," the story stands out as promoting doing something one loves.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
Mario thinks that his dance move is uniquely "amazing"—until fellow squirrel Isabelle shows him not only her own amazing move but also those of the other forest animals. Their amusingly earnest dialogue--equal parts snippy and supportive--recalls an exchange between teenagers. The illustrations include droll diagrams: a rudimentary one featuring Mario's move and a theorem-like one featuring Isabelle's.

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