A day in the life of a family is more than the sum of its adorable parts.
“You’re my peek-a-boo, my sneak-a-boo, / my laughing till-you-squeak-a-boo.” So begins this mother fox’s celebration of her quick, sneaky, funny, naughty little fox cub. All day long, the toddler plays, alternating between engaging its baby sibling and teasing it. And all day long, the mother cajoles, comforts, or corrects the child’s behavior, using the “boo” diminutive throughout, until at day’s end the child is comforted and tucked in to sleep. Adult readers with a low saccharine tolerance may shudder at the sweetness of the endeavor, but with its meticulous scansion and playful affection, it subtly morphs into a story that is both a silly name litany (always popular with young readers) and a quietly reassuring statement of continual mischief-proof parental love (“And no matter what you do… / you will always be my boo”). The book also draws a fairly neat line between the “boo” of “peek-a-boo” and the contemporary, affectionate slang term for “sweetheart.” Withrow’s accompanying pencil, collage, and digital art aptly illuminates the cub’s day, excelling in vignettes that illustrate the protagonist’s shenanigans even as the text delivers simple, one-word descriptions. In the end, it’s the love between parent and child that carries the story.
Boo-tiful. (Picture book. 3-5)