Review of Baloney and Friends

Baloney and Friends
by Greg Pizzoli; illus. by the author
Primary    Disney-Hyperion    87 pp.    g
4/20    978-1-368-05454-6    $12.99

In this energetic and amusing comics-styled easy reader, Baloney — an amiable orange pig — interacts with his friends Bizz (a bumblebee), Peanut (a blue horse), and Krabbit (an often crabby and thus aptly named rabbit). In three main stories (plus an introduction) and occasional interspersed mini comics, the characters showcase humorous and heartfelt experiences that spotlight the everyday with a silly and tender tone. For instance, Peanut foils Baloney’s metafictive planned introduction in the book by leaving to use the restroom; Bizz blushes and gets a sudden close-up when hedging about what Peanut is doing there. In the story titled “Big Splash!” Baloney makes up excuses for why he won’t jump into a backyard kiddie pool; he finally gains the confidence to overcome his fear of swimming. Pizzoli (The Watermelon Seed; Templeton Gets His Wish, rev. 5/15) renders these adventures with bubbly forms featured within solid panels, employing bold lines. The textual narrative is told exclusively through clever dialogue, contained within orange, yellow, blue, and pink speech bubbles (each color-coded to its speaker). Back matter includes easy-to-follow steps for drawing Pizzoli’s memorable cast of characters.

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elisa Gall

Elisa Gall is a teacher-librarian at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. 

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