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Notable new kid-lit collaborations

What beats a new book by a favorite author or illustrator? A story from both of them.

Heavyweight author-illustrator unions—and reunions—are rife in kid-lit land. Among the best pairings are three new books about the power and perils of friendship.

The Odious Ogre
By Norton Juster

Illustrations by Jules Feiffer
Scholastic, $18. All ages.
Studded with big words (impregnable! indefatigable!) and punctuated by an, ogre-y tantrum, The Odious Ogre could only be the work of Caldecott medalist Norton Juster and Pulitzer Prize--winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer, who in 1961 sent a boy named Milo through The Phantom Tollbooth. In this cautionary tale, a group of townsfolk assume the worst about their local ogre. The result? He eats them by the meaty fistful...until an innocent maiden stymies him with kindness.

Lulu and the Brontosaurus
By Judith Viorst

Illustrations by Lane Smith
Atheneum, $16. Ages 6 to 10.
In Lulu and the Brontosaurus, Judith Viorst (the Alexander books) and illustrator Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man, among many) team up for the first time, to follow a snotty tot who's dead-set on capturing a brontosaurus her parents have nixed as a pet. Lulu gets what she deserves in the end—well, three ends, all quite sweet and from which the reader can choose a favorite.

Bink & Gollie
By Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Illustrations by Tony Fucile
Candlewick Press, $16. Ages 6 to 8.
Springing from the same tradition as the lovable opposites of Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad is the endearing Bink & Gollie. As written by first-time collaborators Kate DiCamillo (Newbery Medal winner for The Tale of Despereaux) and Alison McGhee (the Julia Gillian chapter-book series, plus other titles for kids and adults), one of these girls is tall and verbose; the other is short and earnest. Together, they roller-skate their way through the pitfalls of best-friendship: contrary opinions, mutually irritating character traits and the need to compromise. Illustrator and animator Tony Fucile (Ratatouille) brings the girls to life with great panache.

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