Boy meets snuggly, and it’s love at first sight.
In this new take on the old new-baby-sibling storyline, Huser eschews the usual brother-sister–bonding plots to ask an important question: how much stuff can you physically force into a baby carrier before it explodes? When Todd’s parents return from the hospital with his baby sister, the boy is entranced by the soft carrier hanging off his father’s chest. One day Todd accidentally-on-purpose takes the snuggly (as Papa calls it) to school, where its carrying capacity is pushed to the limit. By the time Todd makes it into his classroom, his snuggly is toting a stuffed bear, a cardboard tube (it’ll make a good rocket), a book, a friend’s snack, a cat, a jar of pollywogs, and his teacher’s forgotten travel mug. Chaos ensues. Sadly, the art, done in colored pencils and inks in a gentle palette, is at odds with the book’s internal mayhem. Todd and his world (almost entirely pale-skinned save for brown-skinned Anand) would be better accompanied by images up to the task of portraying both his wonder and hubris. The concluding lesson (“A snuggly is good for just one thing. A baby…or a teddy bear”) may prove too limited a takeaway for its readership.
A gentle offering that should have fully embraced its wild side. (Picture book. 4-7)