Katy Didn't by Johnny Cuomo
It’s the first day at a new school for an unnamed, ungendered green bug with spots. Outside the school log, one tall, magenta-colored bug introduces herself as Katydid and welcomes the newcomer. Other students react differently: One stares, another whispers, still another laughs—“but Katy didn’t.” Later, the teacher asks the new bug about the day. The responses are obvious: “ ‘Who welcomed you?’ / ‘Katydid!’ // ‘Who smiled at you?’ ‘Katydid!’ ” For each question, the new bug remembers a moment when Katy displayed this act of kindness. The culminating question sums up the importance of these acts: “ ‘Who made a friend today?’ / ‘Katydid!’ ” The text encompasses an entire day, maintaining symmetry and simplicity with repetition and concrete examples, helpful for young ones who are likely to encounter such social experiences. Importantly, it positions behavior expectations on the established students and not newcomers, modeling many different ways to be welcoming (and not). Lowery uses an animation-inflected style for the illustrations along with thick color gradients to create three-dimensional depth. Although the early pages have a heavy, shadowed appearance from the earth tones of the setting and the other bugs, the latter half is lighter and cheerful when the new bug’s school day memories are set against pastel backgrounds.