Knuffle Bunny is reimagined with dialogue and a dash of suspense.
Teddy, a brown-skinned boy, has many toys ranging from firetrucks to jigsaw puzzles, but Bren-Da, Warrior Queen of Pacifica, is his absolute favorite. But after excessive use, Bren-Da’s leg snaps one morning. Teddy does not have the time to fix her, so he leaves her in his room and goes to school. When he comes back, Bren-da has disappeared! (Readers will have seen that his mom, who appears to be white, mistook the heavily bandaged Bren-Da for trash.) Teddy can’t find her anywhere, so he immediately seeks his (horrified) mom’s help. Now it’s up to Teddy and his mom to find Bren-Da. Trimmer’s simple story of a universal experience will captivate young readers and have them rooting for Teddy’s reunion with Bren-Da. Teddy’s problem-solving abilities also serve as a useful model. Valentine’s illustrations bring the story to life with creative depictions of orange-haired, pink-skinned Bren-Da’s style and humorous portrayals of Teddy’s and his mother’s actions. The long list of Teddy’s toys in the beginning of the story may be a little disconcerting for children who don’t have as many. On the positive side, the story gently pushes gender norms by showing a doll as Teddy’s favorite toy and Teddy’s mom as nothing short of a superheroine as she tries to get Bren-Da back.
A heartwarming story that uses an everyday occurrence to push the envelope on many fronts. (Picture book. 4-8)