Sadly, I must start my review with a bit of bad news. Sorry folks, but August 2023 is when First Night Howlergarten will be out. However, I want to plug it now as it is FREAKING ADORALBE. And in the meantime, I will be keeping an eye out for more Benson Shum titles.
This picture book has two things that I liked about it (a character who is not “over the top” and a slightly unique ending), but the whole package is enjoyable. We are heading off to the first day of school where our young Sophie is worried. Worried she will not find her pack. Worried that she will not transform into a werewolf like her parents (HOLD THE PHONE! Is this a book of humans having a possible werewolf child?). And at school, there are the usual issues of friendship and learning that even if you are not great at first, things can work out. And there is the “cool girl” and those issues, so you know, normal school stuff. But instead of math they hunt for bones, listen to the wind and, you know, werewolf stuff.
The illustrations are sweet, funny, and cute. They are bubbly, colorful, and contemporary looking. There are little details here and there to make things fun, but not enough to make it its own character, but to have character supporting the human and werewolves of the story. There is nothing that screams OMG BEST BOOK EVER! But I will be reading it again, recommending it to everyone (as it is both a first day of school book and Halloween book. Plus, a being different but still fitting in book). Be prepared to need to do multiple readings to your own little werewolf, as they will like, the werewolf stuff!
(I felt this image)