Two brothers aim to be cool in Opel-Götz’s bemused identity quest.
An older brother tells his younger sibling that it is time to get cool. “What do you mean?” Mug asks Leo. Well, explains Leo, for instance, cool people wear sunglasses all day long. “Even when it rains! Even in the bathroom!” “Why?’ asks Mug. “Because…because then they can imagine it’s a dark and scary night!” Mug is puzzled, but he's still game. Leo goes on. They’ve got to talk cool, sport cool backpacks, listen to loud and angry and cool music, have cool pets like poisonous rats and misbehave—“a lot”—with equally bogus reasoning for each cool act. Finally, being cool sounds like too much work and too much posturing, and the boys go back to being a couple of bony, messy-haired munchkins. From racy, jazzy cool to funky, bohemian cool, Opel-Götz levels a gimlet eye at it all, but with kindly humor, much of it of the visual variety. Her artwork is full of spidery lines and phenomenally expressive faces, and the two boys walk a thin, comic line between earnest and goofy.
A humbly sophisticated send-up: The boys could be beatniks if they wanted, but they’re too cool for that. (Picture book. 7-10)