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FRIENDS ALL AFLUTTER! by Andy Runton Kirkus Star


From the Owly & Wormy series, volume 1

by Andy Runton illustrated by Andy Runton

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: March 8th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5774-4
Publisher: Atheneum

Graphic novelist Runton trades off page count for picture-book-bright hues and tones in his first all-color Owly story. (Owly has been appearing in his own eponymous graphic-novel series since 2004.) Related in large and easy-to-follow pictures, the wordless episode (helped by occasional exchanges in rebuses) pairs sweet-natured Owly and his vermiform sidekick with two caterpillars who appear on a milkweed plant, become good friends and playmates through a variety of weathers, mysteriously disappear for some weeks and then, in a joyful denouement, at last emerge as monarch butterflies. Owly’s simple emotional ups and downs register as clearly as ever—so does the sense of time’s slow passage—and the huge-eyed bird radiates appeal even more strongly here than in his previous appearances as a line-drawn figure. The author/illustrator’s customary warm humor pervades this wee story: Wormy, upon seeing the chewed milkweed leaves, “speaks” in a rebus that illustrates a sick-looking flower with a thermometer in its mouth; an idea that strikes Owly combines old convention with newfangled eco-consciousness with a curly florescent light bulb that hovers over his head. New format, new look, same “Aw, shucks” story, art and characters. (Picture book. 2-5)