Bored Barry's buddy has a surprise for him, but when will they get to it?
Snaggle-toothed, big-nosed Polarhog (who looks like a big, white groundhog) knocks on the door of his friend Barry, a small, big-headed blue bird, waking him from a lovely nap. Polarhog has a surprise for Barry somewhere. On the way to the surprise, they pass a hat store. Despite Barry's insistence that he doesn't like hats, Polarhog buys them both hats...but that's not the surprise. It’s not the ice cream Polarhog buys his buddy, nor is it the meatball Polarhog finds (don't ask where). They return to Barry's house to find it gloriously painted and decorated for Barry's birthday by the ants the friends have been passing throughout their long walk. French, winner of several comics industry awards for her trippy, often disturbing work for adults, releases her first children's title not under the "Rainy Dohaney" pseudonym. As a "level 1" comic for emergent readers, it will likely confuse children more than entice them to the format. The full-bleed illustrations have no panels. The friends walk a continuous path in the illustrations and appear multiple times on the two-page spreads. At one point, they stand outside the hat shop, and on the same page, their voices also come from within. This nice story of friendship breaks too many rules of the format for readers just starting out.
A rare miss for this innovative imprint. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)