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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Claymates, written by Dev Petty and illustrated by Lauren Eldridge. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2017. $22.49 ages 4 and up

"You definitely shouldn't do

Why not?
I can fix it.

Don't I look loooovely?

You look like you're
going to get us in

Where do your ideas come from? That is one of the first questions kids want answered when they have a chance to talk about the books they love with artists and writers they admire. I can just hear their questions after reading this extremely funny book for the first (and not the last) time.

Two blobs - one is gray, one is brown - await their fate. They are slightly concerned, but also hopeful. A pair of hands painstakingly sculpts them into two brand new objects. A gray wolf and a brown owl now face one another, relieved that the work is done.

"Finally, she's gone.

That took a really long time.

And it was SOOOOO boring.

But look at us ...
we're perfect.

Hey, watch this!"

From then on, it is a constant contest between the two. Who can recreate themselves in the most astonishing way possible? It is quite the game they play, and will certainly hold the attention of readers and listeners as they go back and forth, their expressive googly eyes showing every emotion they are feeling. The funny business continues until footsteps are heard nearby, and the two realize they are about to be discovered.

"Uh-oh. I think she's coming
back! What should we do?

I don't know! This
was your idea ... and
it was a BAD one.

Let's just fix ourselves.

What do you think?"

The artist returns, squishes them back into shape, completes her planned work, and then returns the two to their original condition. Do you think they will be happy with that?

The dialogue is spot on, and the sculptures give each character a terrific personality to match. Photographs of the artist's table provide the setting, and page panels help tell their story. Wonderful!

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