I Am a Capybara is debut author Michaela Fabbri's fun and fanciful portrait of one particularly self-aware capybara, who sees life as a series of small delights--including the joys of dressing like a whale!
This charming story begins with an explanation of what a capybara is not: "not a mouse... not a beaver... not a bear, nor a marmot." But, apparently, a capybara is the biggest rodent in the world. And the capybara narrating this particular story is a thoughtful soul, a lover of poetry and the opera, a capybara who wants to watch "the world go by, to play, to explore, to stroll, then to rest and look around again." This singular rodent (who admits to a tendency toward laziness) takes pleasure in connecting quietly with other animals. Though the capybara has a serious expression, "I laugh a lot under my bristles... and amuse myself with things that I never thought could amuse me." This includes dressing up as a whale for laughs and wearing a bowtie to go out. Furthermore, as a self-professed tough guy, this capybara nevertheless knows how--and when--to enjoy a really good "cuddle clump" with its fellow capybaras.
Fabbri's subtle art in gentle earth tones is ideal for her wholly charismatic subject. Fabbri uses body language and spare, well-chosen details to make her deadpan rodent--even with its "eyes always half open"--thoroughly charming. The abundant white space gives a clean, uncluttered feel to the art, and the scratchy, broken line is superb. The delicate drawings invite readers to get to know this diverting capybara, one among many, who looks at life differently, and might make an especially good friend. Gently reassuring, I Am a Capybara is a sweet and unconventional appreciation of the small wonders that surround us all. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI