Mika and the ­Gurgler

Oni Pr. Dec. 2023. 32p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781637152478.
PreS-Gr 2–A washing machine becomes a daunting foe in this lighthearted story that plays on the universal childhood experience of facing loud, intimidating objects that become commonplace later in life. With boisterous sound effects and only a sprinkling of dialogue, the action is conveyed primarily through charming, soft-hued watercolor illustrations. Mika, a young child clad in a tiger suit, is shown to be playful and mischievous, working up a soapy froth in the sink while brushing her teeth. After being redirected, she encounters the family’s washing machine and, in a turn of events that will undoubtedly alarm adult readers, decides to climb in. Despite being quickly pulled out of the washing machine, Mika continues to explore the mysterious contraption, loading in her stuffed animal friend Frog. Mika watches in dismay as Frog goes through the wash, and the washing machine—or “gurgler”—takes on a humorously anthropomorphic appearance with a menacing frown. Chaos ensues when Mika succeeds in opening the machine during the wash cycle to rescue Frog, spilling water and detergent everywhere. Oblivious to the consequences of her actions, Mika continues with her day, leaving the reader to form their own conclusions about washing machine safety. Child readers will relate to Mika’s imaginative explorations, and adult readers will be amused to observe that Mika’s mother is depicted as looking quite tired.
VERDICT A quirky and enjoyable volume for young graphic novel enthusiasts.

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