A power tussle between two kids plays out through mischievous drawings.
“Sam had just begun to draw when Eva arrived.” Sam looks surprised to see Eva appear; Eva smiles broadly. Eva compliments Sam’s pony, sketched in a few green lines; “It’s a velociraptor,” corrects Sam, unthrilled. Eva “suggest[s] a collaboration” by adding to Sam’s drawing without permission; Sam “decline[s]” by smudging out Eva’s work with a rag. Their canvas is the blank white wall of whatever room they’re in; Eva paints on it, Sam draws on it. They seesaw control over the mural’s content: Sam’s giant piano falls from the sky to squash Eva’s creatures; Eva changes the piano into confetti and makes it tickle the creatures instead of squashing them. Eva, metafictively, paints over the text’s descriptions and rewords them to match her newest drawing. Ohi’s illustrations are digital. The childlike drawings on the wall are in color but bland; however, the kids themselves, rendered in black and white, sparkle. Eva, who’s Asian, and Sam, who’s black, are full of movement, their postures and facial expressions different on every spread. When their mural becomes frantic and out of hand, the kids escape in a way that Crockett Johnson’s Harold would be proud of.
Expressive, high-spirited one-upkidship via artwork on walls—there’s nothing wrong with that. (Picture book. 4-6)