Work: An Occupational ABC by Kellen Hatanaka
Get ready for quite the imaginative, clever twist on this predictable genre: even the youngest readers know what comes after A-B-C … but in Kellen Hatanaka’s delightful original debuting later this summer, guessing that Ice Cream Vendor follows Horticulturist is most definitely not your expected, mundane fare. Like Jorge Luján’s inventive Numeralia, which pubbed in English translation earlier this year, Work is just too much fun, fun, fun.
Canadian designer/artist Hatanaka’s whimsical style infuses each unexpected occupational letter with so much more than a single word. Check out B for Butcher: an oversized, aproned Butcher chases a pair of mischievous raccoons down a city street as they abscond with a long string of sausages while a “Speed Ease Delivery Services” truck drives by in the opposite direction. Or how about K for K-9 Officer (who would have ever guessed that one?): a powerful, prancing German Shepherd leads a vested female officer (go, girls!) with such alacrity through an agility training course that she’s about to lose her cap.
Then there’s R is for the Ringmaster who’s looking out over his long train of caged animals, but doesn’t think to glance backwards for the very tiger who’s managed to escape. Uh-oh. And check out the Vibraphonist rocking out with the vibrant Wedding Singer leading her bodacious quartet. The best, of course, comes last because the last three most challenging letters are utterly charming, multi-culti surprises. Those you’ll have to discover on your own; can’t reveal everything here! But I’m still happily, goofily chuckling over X … you will, too! And any naysayers out there? Be sure to check out the “Want Ads” at book’s end. More guffawing predicted!