Thomas Docherty’s art is the strongest element of this sweet story whose rhythm sometimes misses the mark.
The story opens with a rabbit named Eliza Brown happily reading herself a bedtime story, when a creature called a Snatchabook flies into town. Beginning with Eliza’s book, the Snatchabook snatches the stories of everyone reading that night—both individuals and families of charmingly illustrated forest-dwelling creatures—right out of their hands. The sometimes-uneven meter (“Tales of dragons, spitting flames; / Witches playing spooky games; / Pirates on the seven seas; / Princesses trying to sleep on peas”) grates, but it only slightly diminishes the charm of the story and illustrations. Thomas Docherty successfully increases suspense by at first offering just glimpses of the Snatchabook’s silhouette. When the disturbing thefts continue, Eliza sets a trap for the thief only to discover the culprit is an adorable creature with no one to read to him. Astute readers may wonder how stealing books would solve the Snatchabook’s dilemma, but the resolution, in which the Snatchabook returns the stolen tomes and joins nightly read-alouds, satisfies.
While the story is sweet and the illustrations darling, it’s a pity it doesn’t read aloud as smoothly as the books it celebrates. (Picture book. 3-6)