Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr): Vroom! by Barbara McClintock

Lottie & Walter

No one else but Lottie knows a shark is "hiding in the swimming pool." The teacher and other kids don't notice because the shark wants to eat only Lottie--which means every Saturday, Lottie spends her swimming class safely on deck. And then Walter the walrus appears, happy to listen to Lottie's worries, to follow her home and never to leave her side. But Saturday looms again and back to the pool they all must go....

Australian author/artist Anna Walker (Peggy) draws on her own childhood fear of the water (she admits she enjoys swimming now), to create this charming adventure of a girl's brave dive into things unknown. Walker's courageous heroine gets a multicultural cast to share the pages, gleefully presented in watercolor-and-pencil illustrations filled with whimsical details (once-bitten donut floats, pom-pommed party hats) and expansive spreads, including a vast underwater scene that even features lionfish. Lottie & Walter proves to be an immersive delight. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon