Julien recommends

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The Ride of Her Life: A Novel By Jennifer Dugan Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063307513
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - May 28th, 2024

Jennifer Dugan's sophomore adult romance is filled with charm, humor, and a little heat. When aspiring event planner Molly inherits her estranged aunt's horse barn, she finally sees a way to get the money she needs to start her business. But as Molly starts to love the horses and their people, including a hot, grumpy farrier, she isn't so sure she wants to leave. Dugan always writes perfectly messy and good-natured queer characters who are so easy to root for. A strong romance, paired with a great supporting cast, horse antics, and lessons of growing into yourself and being vulnerable, THE RIDE OF HER LIFE is a best in show romance.


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Plain Jane and the Mermaid By Vera Brosgol Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781250314857
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - May 7th, 2024

PLAIN JANE AND THE MERMAID is plain brilliant. Layered with fantasy, humor, and action, Vera Brosgol's latest graphic novel is a fairytale-like underwater adventure. When Jane's chance not to fall to destitution is stolen by a mermaid, Jane travels to the bottom of the sea to get him back.  Jane is a clever, snarky, and kind-hearted heroine with insecurities and a journey to self-acceptance that hits close to the chest. Brosgol’s illustrations, aided by Alec Longstreth's coloring, are dynamic with laugh-out-loud punchlines and heart-stirring emotional fullness. Careful though, because like its deep-sea antagonists, PLAIN JANE will subvert your expectations and steal your heart! 


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Wandering Stars: A novel By Tommy Orange Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780593318256
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - February 27th, 2024

A kaleidoscopic family saga that begins at the Sand Creek Massacre and follows the Star and Bear Shield family through the continued violences committed against Native people. The book’s timeline flows easily to situate the reader in the histories it recounts and to paint a portrait of modern Oakland. With gorgeous, mindful prose, Orange turns the nature of creation, language, addiction and identity over and back to explore their every edge and put words to what’s usually only felt. Orange incorporates a multiplicity of voices we ignore—Natives, single mothers, adoptees, and addicts with pathos and complexity. The shifting point of view brings the reader in and out of these voices, connected and within and sometimes beyond, to stunning effect. It’s a brilliant sophomore novel that shines, aches, and hopes like a fading bruise.


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Martyr!: A novel By Kaveh Akbar Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593537619
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - January 23rd, 2024

In the mundanity of recovery, poet Cyrus searches for what makes a meaningful death, which leads him to meet a dying artist. With clever and stunning prose, Akbar explores the messiness of connection, language, and being a good person and challenges us to embrace the love around us. Heart-wrenching and healing, Martyr! is a brilliant debut.


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Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You By Ali Abdaal Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781250865038
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Celadon Books - December 26th, 2023

Finally, a book on productivity for those of us who don’t live to “rise and grind.” Synthesizing research in psychology and neuroscience with personal experience, philosophy, and pop culture, Abdaal offers both practical advice and new frameworks for thinking about how to get things done and how to enjoy doing those things without misery or burnout. FEEL-GOOD PRODUCTIVITY is warm and approachable. Those who don’t normally pick up books of this nature will find themselves comforted by Abdaal’s honesty and clarity. Those who’ve enjoyed  ATOMIC HABITS, STOLEN FOCUS, or Malcolm Gladwell’s works will glean new insights from Abdaal’s approach. 


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The Fraud: A Novel By Zadie Smith Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780525558965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - September 5th, 2023

Zadie Smith turns her talents to historical fiction in THE FRAUD, a reconstruction of the Victorian Tichborne trial in which an Australian butcher claims to be an English lord. Smith filters the novel through the voices of Scottish widow Eliza Touchet and Andrew Bogle, the slave and crucial witness in the trial, and explores what justice, truth, and authorship are for those of marginalized identities and how people of those identities watch the infection of fanaticism. As Smith evokes Victorian literature with immersive and winding prose, her characters’ lived experiences, told with Smith’s sharp critical perspective, questions the legacy of that literary canon. Though sprawling and substantial, the quick clever divisions and varied prose will leave lines to echo and the ending to linger.


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A Song of Salvation By Alechia Dow Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781335453723
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Inkyard Press - July 11th, 2023

This book is an absolute gem of a sci-fi adventure where a girl with the power of a god, an empathic and reclusive pilot, and a jubilant radio host are the universe's last hope against a conquering empire and its dark god. Dow perfectly balances zippy action and witty dialogue with heartbreaking loss, righteous anger, and crippling self doubt to make an emotionally-rich and ridiculously fun space opera. The main trio's alternating perspectives and short chapters keep the action moving quickly without sacrificing depth. One of my favorite books this year for sure!


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The Sun and the Void (The Warring Gods #1) By Gabriela Romero Lacruz Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316336543
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - July 25th, 2023

For the chance of a wish granted by a dark god, two young women find themselves entangled with a powerful family of a dying race in this sharp fantasy debut. Lacruz builds a captivating mythos and unique magic. The world, inspired by the author's Venezuelan roots, feels so real and lived in, with a sharp and integral anticolonial undercurrent. The blend of histories, cultures, and beliefs span across a richly envisioned topography and play cleverly into each character's emotional journey. Cannot wait to see what the next book holds!


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Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs By Jamie Loftus Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250847744
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Forge Books - May 23rd, 2023

Hilarious, radical, and smart, RAW DOG is a mixture of food histories, uniquely millennial struggles, and cultural critiques, all encased in one woman's cross-country road trip sampling hot dogs. Loftus' skill as a comedian and podcaster lends an addictive orality to the book with asides and interruptions that bring you into the hot dog world's absurdities. For all the writer's delight in subject and sharpness of writing, there is righteous anger here. Loftus continually draws attention to what we want to look away from. Not just what goes into a hot dog, but inequality, failing relationships, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the deceit of nostalgia. RAW DOG will take you on the summer road trip you didn't know you needed.


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The Wife of Willesden By Zadie Smith Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593653739
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Penguin Books - February 14th, 2023

Sharply funny and smart, THE WIFE OF WILLESDEN reimagines Chaucer's medieval Wife of Bath as a Jamaican-British woman telling her stories of marriage in an English pub. Zadie Smith's signature humor and a transnational perspective bring the story alive in our age of texting, memes, and Beyonce while the eponymous wife Alvita maintains the wit, off-kilter "wisdom," and bawdry of the original tale. Smith's rhymes, and the breaks in poetics, her inserted author, and pointed stage directions, lend the text a delightful self-awareness. Excellent to read, probably even better on stage!


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Analog (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series) By Robert Hassan Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780262544498
Availability: Available to Order
Published: The MIT Press - January 3rd, 2023

A scholarly yet approachable examination of how we connect to and move with the tools that shape our world and what happens when those tools remove us from the world they're supposed to help us navigate.


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Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail By Ashley Herring Blake Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593336427
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Berkley - November 22nd, 2022

This queer rom-com nails romance and humor just as well as its predecessor DELILAH GREEN. When designer Astrid and carpenter Jordan butt heads during the renovation of Jordan's family inn, the two find themselves unexpectedly drawn to each other. The characters are well developed in their own lives and struggles, and their romance feels so integral to their growth that you can't help but root for them to be together. It's especially commendable how tenderly Blake handles Astrid's coming out. Although central to the plot, her coming out is not the focus nor a source of angst. Instead, it's handled with care by the characters' friends and with caution and patience from the love interest. Excited to see what Blake has in store in the next installment of this series!


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The Ones We Burn By Rebecca Mix Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9781534493520
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - November 21st, 2023

THE ONES WE BURN is gut-wrenching and heart-mending in equal measure. The protagonist, 17 year old Ranka, knows her magic will kill her someday and leans into her own monstrosity, desperate for acceptance and approval from her fellow witches. The details of this grim magic, the sinister rebellions, and a mysterious, gruesome plague carry a resounding dread throughout the book. But the dark elements of THE ONES WE BURN are matched by the joy peppered throughout. As Ranka grows closer to the other three characters of the core cast in quiet, humorous, and tender moments, she sees the cracks in what she wanted. Through friendship and a queer romance, Ranka starts to believe in something more for herself, the people she loves, and even the world. With well-woven emotional and political stakes, THE ONES WE BURN is ultimately a tale of hope and love. When an old world, an old self, and old wounds, are burnt away, and the smoke clears, we have only each other and the possibilities of what we can make together.

 


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Frizzy By Claribel A. Ortega, Rose Bousamra (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Claribel A. Ortega, Rose Bousamra (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781250259639
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - October 18th, 2022

FRIZZY is an adorably illustrated, heart-healing graphic novel debut. Marlene is sick of going to the salon to “tame” her curly hair, so she takes matters into her own hands with less than favorable results. Claribel Ortega and Rose Bousamra address bullying, feminine beauty standards, and racism with shattering emotional honesty. As in their other novels, Ortega writes characters that feel real: people who are smart and creative and ambitious and scared all in one breath. Bousamra perfectly renders Marlene’s inner life with expressive character design, smartly connected panels of dialogue, and fun, flowing action sequences where Marlene imagines herself as a hero in her favorite show “Super Amigas.” FRIZZY’s greatest triumph is its depiction of how we heal our emotional wounds: by confiding in family and friends, by giving kids role models in whom they can see themselves, and by having the hard conversations with our loved ones so we can grow together.


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Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands By Kate Beaton Cover Image
$39.95
ISBN: 9781770462892
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Drawn and Quarterly - September 13th, 2022

A brilliant and cutting graphic novel memoir. Beaton's post-college jobs in the oil rigs of western Canada evoke questions of morality in isolation, women's lives (and traumas) in male-dominated industries, and the desperation student debt creates in young people. Beaton writes in vignettes that leave space for the reader to ponder her ethical and practical dilemmas or to laugh at her wry humor. The art, the expressive simplicity of the figures and the stunning grey scale landscapes, makes the reader linger on each panel. An absolute feat.


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Eden's Everdark By Karen Strong Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781665904483
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - August 29th, 2023

EDEN'S EVERDARK is a brilliant exploration of a young girl's grief, wrapped in a chilling tale reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's CORALINE. When Eden travels to her mother's home, an island off the coast of Georgia, she slips through a crack into the haunted world of the Everdark where a witch intends to keep Eden as a daughter. Both Strong's imagination and her research pay off immensely in the richly developed worlds of both Safina Island and the Everdark. Strong treats every character with sympathy; even the antagonists have reasons and tragedies that inform their actions. Eden especially moves through her coming of age with empathy, righteousness, and courage that pulls her through her palpable grief. EDEN'S EVERDARK is Southern Gothic whose rich history, imaginative adventure, and creepy imagery, and big heart, will appeal to a variety of readers. It's a dark and haunting adventure story, infused with a light and hope that shines bright.


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The Sunbearer Trials (The Sunbearer Duology #1) By Aiden Thomas Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250822130
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Feiwel & Friends - September 6th, 2022

An engrossing YA fantasy that weaves elements of mythology and dystopia into an adventure of ten half-gods who must compete for honor and their lives. Thomas lays out his world well and develops relationships and emotions that feel genuine. The scrappy protagonist, his quiet but good-natured love interest, and the banter between the cast of realistic teens bring humor and relief from the book's action sequences. The ending brings surprise and energy, a ray of hope, and anticipation for the sequel.


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Coven By Jennifer Dugan, Kit Seaton (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jennifer Dugan, Kit Seaton (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780593112182
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - September 6th, 2022

COVEN is a fun, paranormal mystery with a feel like the villian-of-week supernatural feminist tv shows of the 1990s. When elemental witch Emsy is forced to move to New York so her family can rejoin their coven, she finds herself tangled up in a series of mysterious murders and magic more powerful than she'd ever encountered. A credit to both creators' experience in comics, COVEN boasts a tight plot and strong-willed characters, both fallible and vulnerable. Dugan's dialogue, always a highlight in her prose novels, really shines here with wit and snark that feel authentic to actual teenagers. Seaton's illustrations bring a dynamic energy to both the character relationships and to the magical action sequences. I'd love for these creators to develop the world more in future installments!


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The Tryout: A Graphic Novel By Christina Soontornvat, Joanna Cacao (Illustrator) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781338741261
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - September 6th, 2022

THE TRYOUT is a bright and fun romp with lessons and truths that’ll resonate for any reader who’s felt like a bit of a weirdo. Infusing her middle school experiences and family history, Soontornvat brings her fantastic world building to paint a portrait of her mostly white small hometown. Cacao’s illustrations bring emotive depth to the narrative. THE TRYOUT portrays the sometimes cruel desperation to fit in and the bitter taste of failure with painful poignancy, but balances it with hilariously reactive expressions and panel-defying fantasy sequences. It’s the perfect next read for fans of Raina Telgemeier’s memoirs and the Babysitters’ Club graphic novels.


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Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional By Isaac Fitzgerald Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781639731640
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - November 7th, 2023

Reading DIRTBAG, MASSACHUSETTS feels like when you meet with an old friend and ask "What the heck have you been up to?" and they reply with stories that are unexpected, funny, and tender. Fitzgerald's reflections on his odd jobs, his childhood, and his personal growth entertain and give sense of particular moment, a place, a type of person. The collection reminds me that we carry the places, people, and moments that have shaped us, but we're not trapped in them, not made to become them. Eventually, our wounds become nothing more than scars and the stories we make from them.


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Sofi and the Bone Song By Adrienne Tooley Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781534484375
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - February 21st, 2023

SOFI AND THE BONE SONG is a delicate, folklorish tale with a coming-of-age that echoes far past its fantasy setting. The fantasy elements are subtle, but the world's forbidden magic offers a strong central conflict and layers a gentle mystery throughout. The book's core and greatest strength is its heart. It's a delight to watch the protagonist who starts out self-righteous and self-loathing reckon with her shattered self image to become empathic to her friends, her, forgiving in her study of music, and most importantly, kind to herself. Highly stressed, overachieving teens who put immense pressure on how well they perform will find comfort in Sofi's journey and her lesson that love will always come easier than perfection.


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In a Garden Burning Gold: Book One of the Wind-up Garden series By Rory Power Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593354995
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Del Rey - January 17th, 2023

This book is a chess match. Its pieces-- a collapsing century-long reign, magic stolen from nature, the vicious politics of a Mediterranean-like world, and the twins who must weigh their familial obligations against their own desires--captivate the reader until its checkmate of a climax stuns them and leaves them hungry for a sequel.


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Time Is a Mother By Ocean Vuong Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780593300237
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Penguin Press - April 5th, 2022

Vuong weaves reflections on mortality, the nature of language, and human connection with a persistent invocation of absence. Some quiet, others searing, these poems, like disinfecting a cut, heal even as they sting.


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Witchlings By Claribel A. Ortega Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338745528
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Scholastic Press - April 5th, 2022

When three young witches don't get sorted into a coven, they must prove themselves worthy of their magic by defeating a mysterious and terrifying monster--or else get turned into toads! A perfectly concocted potion of magic, adventure, and humor for a new generation of witches and wizards.


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Delilah Green Doesn't Care By Ashley Herring Blake Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593336403
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Berkley - February 22nd, 2022

A fun queer rom-com with wit and charm where love is as much about friends and family as it is romance. When photographer Delilah reluctantly returns to her hometown for her stepsister's wedding, she plans to annoy her stepsister by flirting with the maid of honor Claire, an overly responsible single mom. The resulting fling may be exactly what Claire and Delilah both need.


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Cinderella Is Dead By Kalynn Bayron Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781547606641
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury YA - June 29th, 2021

In addition to perfectly hitting the beats of YA fantasy, this fresh fairytale retelling shows how patriarchy and heteronormativity twist stories for dastardly, political ends. In Sophia's country, women are forced into modesty, beauty, and servitude, like the tale of Cinderella from 200 years ago. Sophia, brave and determined, knows that something is amiss with Cinderella's story as the palace presents it and runs away from the ball, not to find a prince, but to stop a king. With plenty of bravery and a tinge of magic, Cinderella is Dead is equal parts critique and love letter to fairytales and fantasy. Best of all, it puts young, queer, Black women at the forefront of revolution.


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Burn Our Bodies Down By Rory Power Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780525645658
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - May 4th, 2021

Rory Power's sophomore novel moves her nature horror from the woods of New England to the plains of the Midwest, proving that she can make anywhere unsettling. Her raw, gut-punching writing brings heartbreak and unease from the very beginning of Margot's desperate search for family. Vivid, gripping, and just totally bonkers, BURN OUR BODIES DOWN is both a cautionary tale about seeing only what you want to see and a story of hope for those from manipulative families. In short, Rory Power does it again.


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Wilder Girls By Rory Power Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780525645610
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - June 2nd, 2020

This pulse-pounding science fiction thriller touches on survival, feminism, friendship, and environmentalism at a girls' boarding school in a dangerous, mutating forest.  Rory Power's writing gives a distinct voice to every one of these multi-faceted, engaging characters.  Her skillful and shifting prose fills every breath with real emotion.


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Verona Comics By Jennifer Dugan Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780525516309
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - April 20th, 2021

In VERONA COMICS, Jennifer Dugan takes so many tropes of a teen rom-com and transforms them into something refreshing, original, and at moments, heartbreaking. Hyper-driven classical musician Jubilee and anxiety-ridden Ridley meet at a comic book convention where Ridley's dad is desperate for his corporation to buy out Jubilee's stepmom's indie comic book shop. Using that Romeo and Juliet framework, Dugan brings attention to issues of mental health, not-quite-healthy romantic relationships, and complicated family dynamics. This book is sweet and speaks to teen experiences that often slip by unnoticed. Plus, how could any indie bookseller not appreciate how much love Dugan gives indie comic shops in it?


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Chosen Ones By Veronica Roth Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780358451174
Availability: Available to Order
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 1st, 2021

How can I tell everyone in this dimension (and the next one over) to read Chosen Ones? Sloane the protagonist lovable in her unlikeability, a sharp and twisting plot, and keen worldbuilding are enough reason to read this book. The writing, especially the different articles, textbooks, and other forms of media Roth seamlessly emulates and infuses into the narrative, stitches all those elements together with charm.


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Hot Dog Girl By Jennifer Dugan Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780525516279
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - March 24th, 2020

Ridiculously funny and rife with the familiar embarrassment of one's teenage years, Lou Parker's quest for the perfect summer (despite having to wear a hot dog costume at her job) is pure delight.


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The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising Trilogy #1) By Kiersten White Cover Image
$11.99
Unavailable at this time
ISBN: 9780525581703
Published: Ember - October 13th, 2020

Kiersten White gives a great take on Arthurian legends for lovers of the source material or for any fantasy lover seeking intricate characters, a twisting plot, and a richly layered world and magic system.


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Noodlephant By Jacob Kramer, K-Fai Steele (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jacob Kramer, K-Fai Steele (Illustrator)
$18.95
Unavailable at this time
ISBN: 9781592702664
Published: Enchanted Lion - February 12th, 2019

Delightfully illustrated and printed on high quality paper, NOODLEPANT combines the silliness of a noodle-loving elephant with the important lesson of standing up for equality.  Charming, sweet, and great for kids AND adults!