A tale of best friends, one a human child and one a very anthropomorphized boar named Buddy.
The unnamed boy and the boar meet in kindergarten, and the young human immediately complains: “He’s annoying when he can’t keep up.” The strong, expressive gouache paintings with an unusual palette of blue, brown and orange have a hip, contemporary look. They depict the light-skinned redhead and the brown boar racing on scooters and in the swimming pool. The next double-page spread shows the two reaching out for the same piece of food with their chopsticks, and the text reads contradictorily: “He’s also annoying when he’s faster than me!” The two go through the fights that any two boys have, over possessions, fishing competitions, games, and even who can pee farther. Occasional graphic sequences advance the story clearly, mixing with full-page illustrations and double-page spreads. Some drama enters when Buddy goes on vacation and the boy really misses him. An illustration of Buddy in a beach chair with sunglasses and a cellphone reporting, “The waves here are three stories tall!,” opposite the boy lounging at home, trying to top this story, is very cool. The last pages feature thumbnail black-and-white watercolors of two boys growing older, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. A Simplified Chinese version publishes simultaneously, featuring simplified characters and transliterated text directly above the characters. A glossary and a sequence of thumbnail reproductions of the illustrations accompanied by the English text rounds out the package.
Visually appealing and wryly amusing. (Picture book. 4-6)