Neighbors who are as different as night and day can still be friends, once they understand each other.
Kalinka, a little yellow bird with a neat cap of red feathers, lives next door to Grakkle, a big green “beast with bad habits, a bad temper, and bad hair” (an all-over pelt depicted as tight curls resembling a poodle’s coat and always referred to as “hair”). Kalinka flies through the open window of Grakkle’s house one day and declares with a chirp that the place could use some tidying up. Grakkle, who has only one word in his vocabulary—“Grakk”—uses it quite expressively to reject Kalinka’s help. But Kalinka pays him no heed; she interprets “Grakk” as “Thank you.” Grakkle grows more and more annoyed as Kalinka eats his favorite cookies, stuffs all the loose pencils into a box of spaghetti, and ties a bow in Grakkle’s unruly hair. Overcome, the green beast throws a big angry tantrum, resulting in Kalinka’s tumble into the pickle bucket where Grakkle likes to soak his feet. It’s the remorseful Grakkle to the rescue, and in short order a beautiful new friendship is born. Kalinka’s blithe cluelessness and Grakkle’s grunting ire should tickle young listeners. Paschkis’ colorful and quirky illustrations, rendered in ink and gouache, heighten the supreme silliness of her tale. Unfortunately, the depiction of Grakkle’s repeatedly denigrated hair, green though it may be, is close enough to depictions of Afro-textured hair that it may cause uncomfortable associations for some readers.
Another cute odd-friendship story. (Picture book. 3-5)