Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Koko Be Good by Jen Wang

Jon lives in San Francisco while his much-older girlfriend, Emily, is finishing her graduate studies on the opposite coast of the USA. In a few short weeks, they'll both be moving to Peru; Emily will be working in an orphanage and Jon just wants to be with Emily. Koko is a young woman who crashes into the apple cart that is Jon's life. She's an irrepressible scallawag who'll take advantage of anyone, but upon meeting Jon she is inspired to become a good person. As with any of Koko's undertakings, this is something done with her whole heart... for brief periods of time... and with consequences that are just short of disastrous. Jon, meanwhile, is learning things from Koko about being true to himself.

Jen Wang's watercolour artwork in subdued shades of brown somewhat reminds me of Hannah Berry's Britten and Brulightly. Wang's characters have large eyes and wonderfully expressive faces. Koko is a lovable anarchist. How can you resist someone for whom buying and eating carrots constitutes a plan to be good? Grade 8 through adult.

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