Squirrel Do Bad

S. &S./Aladdin. (Trubble Town: Bk. 1). Aug. 2021. 288p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781534496118.
Gr 2-5–Trapped with an overprotective father, purple-haired, beige-skinned Wendy the Wanderer leaves home at the first opportunity to explore the neighboring town of Trubble, which is filled with unique personalities, including anthropomorphic animals. When Wendy gives a squirrel a sugary drink, a chain of events is set off like a butterfly effect over the rest of the town, and nothing will ever be the same. This book specializes in surreal humor (a Chihuahua reads a mostly inaccurately reported newspaper written by an octopus). Chapter headings either make hyperbolic claims or flatly state the obvious (“Chapter Nine, Which Is One After Eight”). A matter-of-fact omniscient narrator indulges and presents the cast and their highjinks. The narrative makes chaotic leaps from character to character, but follows a strange logic of its own that leads to hilarious callbacks and nonsequiturs. Layouts are almost universally two panels wide and three panels tall. Characters have a simplified, cartoonish look, reminiscent of Pastis’s comic Pearls Before Swine. Townspeople are diverse in skin color.
VERDICT Wendy wanders almost as much as the story, which takes some random turns but builds a world of jokes along the way.

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