Elanna Allen has designed characters and directed animation for Disney Junior, Nick Jr and PBS and this experience shows in her second picture book, Poor Little Guy. With just a handful of characters and words, Allen tells a minimalist story that is genuinely entertaining and unforgettable.
The Poor Little Guy of the title is a bespectacled puffer fish just swimming along, trying to do his own thing, but an octopus has other ideas. Like a cat with a mouse, the marshmallowy, grinning octopus thinks up game after game to play with the poor little guy, which is where Allen's creativity really shines through.
Allen's illustrations are magnificent, artistic and playful at once. Her hand lettered text weaves itself into the illustrations, adding to the story. A limited palette is used expertly, the shades of the ocean background shifting with the rise and fall of the plot. The expressions of the characters tell the story as much as the words do and it's hard to not feel a little sorry for the octopus when the inevitable happens after he pops the puffer fish in his mouth. As with all great picture books, Allen wraps up Poor Little Guy with another (dangerous) surprise that flows out, marvelously, onto the endpapers.
Source: Review Copy