Star & Stripe 1: Grand Opening!

Pixel+Ink. (Star & Stripe: Bk. 1). Mar. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781645950103.
PreS-Gr 1–Bovine siblings Star and Stripe frequently argue. The one thing they agree on is that they want to open a restaurant to sell their mama’s grassburgers to all the animals in Critter City. After numerous setbacks and disagreements, the grand opening of their food truck is a success. This is first a silly book: the plot reads as a gathering of multiple discrete obstacles rather than a cohesive story. Flat characterizations heighten this effect. Readers are told that Star is fancy and brainy while Stripe is messy and goofy, and then the two are shown repeatedly arguing and working together. Their conversations are summarized in the narration, which lacks immediacy, rather than offered in the characters’ own words. The folksy story is full of cow and burger-based puns: “What a COWTASTROPHE!” However, the tale is enhanced by bright and friendly digital illustrations that are packed with with charming visual details. Some readers will enjoy searching for goofy elements, like a giraffe’s absurdly long drinking straw, or the fact that the bakery is shaped like a croissant.
VERDICT Although the whimsical illustrations add life and interest, this uneven story of sibling cooperation is recommended for additional purchase only.

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