Squish Rabbit spends his little life overlooked, unheard and occasionally stepped on (thus, his name). He needs a friend.
The simple narration tells Squish's story (abetted by his rebus-like pictorial speech bubbles), but the pictures do the heavy lifting. Solid black lines carve out the simplest, flattest rabbit figure imaginable, but somehow Squish’s deficit of dimensionality describes his huge heart and deep loneliness. His ears look a lot like his arms and legs, rounded-off extremities, while Squish’s tiny irregular eyes (one’s bigger than the other) miraculously convey a range of nuanced expressions. Children will certainly register his rage during a tantrum; Squish’s eyes squint, and his flailing, stumpy legs stomp and kick. Battersby’s expert, ample distribution of white space provides room on each page for readers to luxuriate in her impressive, evocative ink, watercolor and collage illustrations—and to absorb a small rabbit’s feelings. Rough papers and textured fabrics add depth, creating an almost tactile reading experience. When Squish and a new, real squirrel friend first make eye contact, however, they do it across an entirely white double-page spread that throbs with both suspense and hope. A face-to-face close up, revealing two sets of dissimilar eyes, seals the friendship.
Minimal, moving and adorable, little Squish makes a big impression. (Picture book. 2-6)