The third Katie Honors entry (Sometimes I’m Bombaloo, 2002; Jibberwillies at Night, 2008) again traverses critical emotional territory, though the visual and textual quality don’t match the topic’s importance.
The plot is simple: Katie’s best friend plays with someone else at recess; Katie feels furious and wounded until she makes a new chum herself. Although Katie boasts about her own social dabbling (“I like to play with everybody, and they all like to play with me, too. I go on lots of playdates”), and although Jennifer never implies that their friendship’s over, powerlessness and loss of routine do sting. Unfortunately, the artwork is too stilted and static for the roiling emotions and theme about change. Composition varies, but despite interesting white space between figures and background, the vibe is stiff. Even when Katie imagines screaming, Heo’s geometrical shapes look balanced and regular. When Katie does yell, her eye becomes a spiral, and the visuals finally match the mood. Text changes type, color and size, in a way that feels not playful but instructional and provides volume levels. Description of Katie’s old and new pals waxes sentimentally adult: Jennifer’s “smile is as bright as the morning sun in your eyes,” Arabella’s “smile [i]s gentle like the afternoon sun between the leaves.”
As the future of Katie and Jennifer's friendship remains unknown, this is for readers who are confronting loss or shifts in friendship. (Picture book. 4-6)