February 27, 2020


Such a Good Boy by Marianna Coppo is the cutest story about inherited familial pressures I've ever seen.

Buzz is a good boy who does what he's told. He comes from a pure pedigree, and his predecessors have all won all of the awards at all of the shows around the world. His humans are rich, so he lives in a fancy house with fancy food and fancy shampoos. But sometimes the pressure of it all gets to Buzz, and he finds himself often lamenting the fact that he's never had a fun day in his life. He never gets to stop and smell things during walks, he always has to drop the sticks he finds on the way home, and his part of the dog park is just plain boring. Until one day when Buzz decides it's time to shake things up and dive into a muddy puddle...

With tempera and pastels, Coppo expertly conveys Buzz's feelings of pressure to be the best boy. At the beginning, Buzz consistently appears alone and small compared to his surroundings. When he appears all the way on the lower righthand side of a spread featuring his family portrait series, we see that Buzz is literally just another Buzz in a long line of Buzzes, and the question mark on his nameplate shows that this Buzz doesn't know how to break out of the mold (and that he'd be the first in his family to do it). But the moment he jumps into the puddle, the tiniest, most adorable little smile appears on his face, and suddenly Buzz fills up all the space in his illustrations. Coppo features him multiple times on every page to convey movement––something Buzz hasn't been allowed to do!––as Buzz runs around doing everything he wants. Buzz is finally free to be his own kind of Buzz, and he even makes a new friend to round-out his journey.

Such a Good Boy published from Chronicle Books earlier this month! And you can also read an interview I did with Marianna Coppo in 2018 about her illustration process here

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