When two Steves meet, each needs to establish his superiority.
They argue about everything, including which one appeared first—“BY ONE PAGE,” the other protests. One is slightly older, so he should be Steve the First. One is wiser, one is taller, and there are claims of faster and stronger. They even challenge each other about their ability to catch fish, which would be odd if they were human, but these Steves are puffins. Then the tone of their competition changes, and the insults begin, making them feel bad. But they are essentially kindhearted, and they apologize and decide to be friends. They go bowling together—an outing that ends with a big surprise that might change everything. The puffins are akin to 6-year-olds; there is no real malice, but they vie for king of the playground. Hood employs simple, childlike syntax, including just enough grossness to ensure giggles from young readers. It’s a great read-aloud for two voices, as they each escalate in intensity and then come together in agreement. Sharply delineated lino-print–and-collage illustrations in dominant, intensely bright blue and yellow are filled with delightful images. The black-and-white puffins, one with an orange beak and one with red, display slight changes in the ways they hold their heads and mouths that indicate their emotions and perfectly match the dialogue. There’s a gentle, subliminal message about friendship and acceptance.
Enormous fun. (Picture book. 3-7)