Pretty Perfect Kitty-Corn

Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale (Princess Academy) and Caldecott Honor illustrator LeUyen Pham (Outside, Inside) follow up their smart and sweet Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn with another powerful story about friendship in a fluffy pink and purple package.

Sometimes, being thought of as perfect is no blessing. Majestic Unicorn "yearns to look the way everyone thinks he should." His friends gush over his shiny horn, his "magnificent haunches," his "purple as a dream" tail. But when his best Kitty-corn friend, Kitty, tries to paint a portrait of him, she can't get it quite right. Unicorn is frantic, trying to assume a more flattering stance: "Unicorn stands and twists, sways and spins, gallops in place, and poses thoughtfully--all at the same time." What happens next is a tragicomedy of errors, but true friendship, as always, wins the day.

The crackerjack team behind the Kitty-Corn books is pretty perfect at creating delightful stories about the messiness and sweetness of friendship (Best Friends; Real Friends; Friends Forever). Pham's digital illustrations on a white background feature expressive faces and droll, occasionally slapstick, humor. They are balanced nicely with Hale's witty and emotionally astute text (welcome back, goofy rhyming sidekicks Parakeet and Gecko!).

Readers of Pretty Perfect Kitty-Corn will witness the ways in which self-perception can be damaging, and good friends (those who are "precious, like the last cookie") should always share the magic message that we don't need to be flawless to be worthy of love. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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