Otis & Peanut Forever and Ever

Owlkids. (Otis & Peanut: Bk. 2). Apr. 2024. 80p. adapted by . Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781771474979.
K-Gr 2–A lighthearted observation of friendship and memories that ultimately reveals itself as a comforting read for young grievers. Otis is a big, furry, almost leonine guinea pig, while Peanut, per his name, is a comparatively petite naked mole rat with big glasses and big front teeth. In a series of three linked stories, they first make a cake and face a conundrum when they need to figure out what occasion they created it for. In the second story, Peanut runs out of strawberry jam and proceeds to plant some strawberry seeds provided by his sister Pearl, while remembering childhood moments spent in her company. The final story features a visit between the pair where Otis shows Peanut his scrapbook of good times spent with Pearl—her loss revealed in an “In Memory” card therein—and they decide to create some new memories together: They eat more cake! They make more strawberry jam! In a non-didactic, naturalistic fashion, these vignettes capture the beautiful, bolstering experiences that can come from embracing the gifts of grief rather than keeping them locked away. Collier’s quirky, lightly sketched characters accompanied by a green and pink neon palette lend a memorable visual style to the thoughtful series-in-the-making.
VERDICT A consciously composed graphic novel that embraces joyful memories and deliciously sweet moments, and a worthwhile experience for all young readers, grievers or no.

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