Will lonely Squirrel and Rabbit ever find each other?
Squirrel and Rabbit are both newcomers to their community, which is helpfully mapped out on endpapers as a guide to the different places they visit alone. No other creatures show up except for two little slugs with arms who independently determine to help Squirrel and Rabbit meet and try unsuccessfully to direct their attention to each other on every spread. Alas, Squirrel and Rabbit are oblivious to the slugs’ respective efforts (“Perhaps they don’t speak Bug!” is the parting shot from the blue slug at book’s end, implying a lingua franca among insects and other creepy-crawlies), and Squirrel and Rabbit consistently miss seeing each other as they go about various activities, bemoaning their loneliness and isolation. There’s humor in these near-misses which allow readers, alongside the slugs, to know more than the protagonists do. In one scene, Squirrel thinks, “I wish I could just bump into someone,” as nuts from the cart she pulls across a bridge bean Rabbit, who is wading below. The bright palette used in the digitally enhanced linocut illustrations on the white, open spaces of the pages conveys optimism that, eventually, all will be well. A slapstick ending that has the pair literally run into each other brings about a satisfying and funny conclusion.
A picture book worth finding and befriending. (Picture book. 3-5)