Fox + Chick: The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories, by Sergio Ruzzier, (May 2021, Chronicle Books), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797208848
Fox and Chick are friends who love each other. Fox loves Chick with all Chick’s little quirks, and Chick loves Fox, who seems a little more down to earth. This latest book is the second book of their adventures, and it’s already out in hardcover. Chronicle was kind enough to send me a softcover copy, which will be out in May. Consisting of three stories – The Quiet Boat Ride, Chocolate Cake, and The Sunrise – this graphic novel is perfect for emerging readers who are ready to stretch from picture books and easy readers, but either not quite ready for chapter books or just starting them. In “The Quiet Boat Ride”, Fox is all set to spend a quiet afternoon rowing his boat when Chick arrives and injects a wild series of scenarios into the day. In “Chocolate Cake”, Chick agonizes over the gift of a chocolate cake and whether or not to eat all of it and risk a sick belly. “The Sunrise” sees Fox trying to get Chick to hurry up and come downstairs so they can see the sunrise. Parents and caregivers will love the stories, too; Chick will remind every single adult reader of the Kiddos in their lives, from trying to get a meandering preschooler to get their shoes on so you can get out of the door on time, to explaining that having access to a box of cookies (or a chocolate cake) doesn’t mean one has to EAT all of the cookies (or cake) in one sitting. Soft colors, fun dialogue, and an overall feeling of friendship makes this an excellent choice to give to kids who’ve loved Elephant and Piggie, Frog and Toad, and who are heading toward Skunk and Badger.
Sergio Ruzzier is a Sendak Fellow who has written and illustrated many critically acclaimed children’s books. The Fox + Chick books have starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, and Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories is included on many “Best Of” lists, including NPR Best Books of the Year, New York Times Notable Children’s Book,School Library Journal Best Book of the Year,
and The Horn Book Magazine Fanfare Best Book of the Year
. Visit Sergio Ruzzier’s author website for more information about his books
One Mean Ant with Fly and Flea, by Arthur Yorinks/Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, (Oct. 2020, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9780763683955
The rollicking, continuing adventures of the Mean Ant continues in this second book, which picks up shortly after the events of the first. The Ant and the Fly are prisoners in a spider’s web, so Ant’s day isn’t getting any better. But, wait! What’s that spot? It’s Flea! With Flea’s acrobatic prowess – he’s a flea circus escapee – the group manage to escape the web, but they’re not out of danger yet! This is the second book in a trilogy, and I rank this up there with Jon Klassen’s Hat Trilogy in terms of laugh-out-loud storytelling. The comedic timing here is spot on: this is a priceless readaloud. Ant is cantankerous, Fly just tries so hard, and Flea is frightened for his life! The wordplay is genius, and the expressive faces and body language enhances the dialogue. I can’t wait for the third installment. A great readaloud choice beyond the little ones, first and second graders will love this story – my third grader laughs out loud when we read it together.
One Mean Ant, by Arthur Yorinks/Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, (Feb. 2020, Candlewick Press), $22.99, ISBN: 9780763683948
See that guy on the cover? He is mean. I mean, MEAN. Leaves fall off trees, grapes shrivel into raisins, and dung beetles… well, you can guess what they do when he walks by. One day, this crabby ant is so focused on complaining and yelling at everyone around him that he wanders into the desert and discovers he’s totally lost. Luckily for him, a fly happens by. Unluckily for the fly, the ant starts yelling at him! The fly takes the ant’s lousy attitude in stride, and the two engage in a progressively funnier exchange that ends with a twist you won’t see coming, but will laugh out loud when you get there.
Arthur Yorinks has captured what it means to be in a lousy mood. Everyone will recognize and appreciate this Mean Ant, because we’ve ALL been there. Kids will laugh out loud, especially if you give it some spirit during a readaloud. The fly’s passive, sweet demeanor is a great foil for the ant, and their exchanges are laugh-out-loud hilarious as the story continues. My kiddo and I take turns being the ant and the fly when we read this together, and it’s pretty darned funny each time.
Sergio Ruzzier’s pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations have a great retro vibe, reminding me of picture books I grew up with: very ’70s Sesame Street watercolor schemes, and the facial expressions on the ant and fly are the perfect accompaniment to the story. Everyone will love One Mean Ant.