Pebble and Wren

HarperCollins/Clarion. Apr. 2023. 240p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780358541295; pap. $13.99. ISBN 9780358541288.
Gr 4-8–An adorable shape-shifting monster named Pebble undergoes a rite of passage by venturing out of the forest they call home and into the human world. While many of the houses populated by people seem unsavory, one in particular stands out for its welcome sign: the home of Wren and her two fathers. The two become fast friends, with Wren readily agreeing to help Pebble—who sports two large horns, two big eyes, stretchy arms, and is an orange, kidney shape—discover their special skill that is necessary to return home. While the search for Pebble’s unique talent is challenging, Wren demonstrates a knack for many things, including reading, playing games, possessing a detailed knowledge of rocket ships and space travel, skeletal anatomy, and the science of heat and refrigeration, which she happily imparts to her new friend. Nine chapters, with the majority of spreads featuring four panels on each page filled with comical and engaging dialogue, show their friendship naturally grow and flourish, including solving a Halloween costume crisis together, venturing into the monster forest to retrieve a prized possession, and the ability to “think-talk,” or telepathically communicate, with each other. The heartwarming conclusion reveals Pebble’s special skill and the promise of a continued friendship.
VERDICT Quirky and charming, this graphic novel with themes of friendship and being one’s self will find a home in many collections.

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