Ooko / Esmé Shapiro.

Desperate for a Debbie of his own, Ooko the fox sets out to become like all the other foxes so he can find a Debbie of his own.

Main Author: Shapiro, Esmé, 1992-
Published: Toronto, Ontario : Tundra Books, [2016]
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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Stories about wanting a friend abound, but newcomer Shapiro's unfolds in a gloriously distinctive world. Ooko, an orange fox shaped a bit like a beanbag, lives in a forest full of prehistoric-looking foliage and anemone-tentacled flowers. She spies another "fox" (it's a dog, actually) playing with "furless, two-legged fox" (a human girl). When the human's mother calls out, "Debbie! Watch out!" Ooko concludes that all humans are called Debbies. A Debbie, Ooko decides, would play with her if she looked more like one of their foxes. She succeeds in tricking herself out as various dogs, but life with the Debbie who claims her is not all it's cracked up to be, as the woman imprisons Ooko in a dog sweater. "This game is too itchy!" moans Ooko. A raccoon hiding under a rock issues a more tempting invitation: "This is my stick. This is my other stick. And this is my other other stick. Wanna play?" The message about being true to oneself isn't delivered so much by the text as it is by Shapiro's inimitably daffy world. Ages 3-7. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-This picture book debut stars a fox who has it all: a stick, a leaf, a rock-everything except a friend. Ooko searches in the forest to no avail. When he notices a pet dog and hears a brown-skinned mother warning her daughter, Debbie, to be aware of the fox, he thinks: "I want a Debbie too!" Ooko then imitates the attributes he believes will make him appealing as he observes other "Debbies" playing with their "foxes." He sports spots to look like a Dalmatian, cotton candy to look like a poodle, etc. The cumulative effect is amusing. A nearsighted white woman with an enormous gray bun and very hairy legs mistakes Ooko for her "Ruthie," and for a short time both are happy, until a bath and itchy sweater lead to misery. Ultimately, a chance encounter with a friendly raccoon helps the protagonist realize "I don't need to look like the other foxes to find a friend" and "to each their own." Grammatical considerations aside, these messages and the desire to have a friend are certainly ideas to which young listeners can relate. The compositions are rendered in an autumnal palette with gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil. VERDICT Purchase for those who enjoy the quirky caricatures and stylized, slightly off-kilter settings and folk art worlds of Giselle Potter and Maira Kalman.-Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.