“Down in the woods in the evening sun, / Big Daddy Rabbit said, ‘Come, Little One!’ ” So begins this tender book as a furry father and son make the most of the day’s last light to play.
Casey’s rollicking, rhyming text describes their romp, which draws the attention and enthusiastic participation of other woodland creatures. Soon Owl, Mouse and Bear—“the big happy crew”—“[dance] and they [shout] and all [sing] ‘Ya-hoooooo!’ ” But when some whirling and twirling finds the forest friends piled up “in a glorious heap,” poor Little One is left a bit sad and shaken. Fuge masterfully paints cheery bucolic scenes in watercolor. His close-ups of the rabbits convincingly show the soft texture of their fur as well as their loving bond through their large eyes and postures. Although the rabbits often run upright instead of on all fours, young readers won’t mind. Instead, they will relate to Little One’s abrupt swing from rambunctious fun one moment and overwhelmed unhappiness at the unexpected result in the next. All of the animals, regardless of size, show genuine concern at the sight of Little One’s tears. But Big Daddy Rabbit knows exactly what is needed—a hug and a lullaby gently soothe.
Sure to satisfy toddlers and preschoolers, this father-child tale will warm many hearts. (Picture book. 2-5)