Paul & Antoinette

In the charming picture book Paul & Antoinette, the title characters are sibling pigs who live alone in a cozily furnished stone house.

Fastidious Paul is a "toast spread neatly with butter" kind of pig, while ebullient Antoinette "piles jam and chocolate on her special Two-Taste toasts." Paul prefers to stay inside and tinker with intricate ship models, while Antoinette can't wait to drag her brother outside to embrace, quite literally, the delicious chaos of nature. Once outdoors, however, her brother adapts nicely: "When Paul sees beautiful gold button flowers in the meadow, he's inspired to think deeply about Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging." Antoinette licks a snail.

Paul is not a complete killjoy. He is intellectually curious about nature, and even as Antoinette is splashing in the mud, "Paul joins in, leaping elegantly over each puddle." But by the end of their outing, Paul has clearly had enough, and the dirt-and-berry-smeared Antoinette worries that he is angry with her. She tries to smooth things over at home by concocting "her famous Everything Tart," and, indeed, the hilariously enormous and ornate pie does put a smile on Paul's face that lasts into snuggly bedtime. With warmth and humor, Paris-based Kerascoët's expressive watercolor illustrations capture both the friction and the love that coexist where Paul's orderly-but-not-too-rigid nature meets his sister's joyful entropy. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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