The Imposter

Mar. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781957655222.
K-Gr 3–Olive loves “cuddly, reliable, perfect” Mr. Snuggles, a sort of doggy stuffed animal, more than anything else in the world; when he goes missing, she’s more than a little distraught. Olive looks in all the usual spots and even hires a detective, who finds everything she’s ever lost except Mr. Snuggles. When he finally reappears, “something didn’t feel quite right.” He’s “a little TOO fluffy. He smelled a little TOO clean. And where was the extra-crusty spot behind his right ear?” Using a digitally rendered palette dominated by greens, grays, and browns, a spread in contrasting orange pops as Olive realizes that her found friend is an imposter given to her by her increasingly desperate family. Every parent who’s ever had the bedtime panic that can only be induced by a missing stuffed friend will relate to Olive’s predicament, and every child who has lost a beloved fluffy and not-so-great-smelling furry friend will sympathize as Olive, during a terrifying thunderstorm, reluctantly bonds with her imposter. Excellent use of vignettes, white space, and a satisfying surprise ending (“Mr. Snuggles, meet Mr. Huggles”) leave Olive and readers safe in the knowledge that there’s always room for one more.
VERDICT A well-paced narrative that works for story hours or to have on the SEL shelves.

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