A little bear struggles with separation anxiety as he prepares to go to school for the first time—without Blankie.
“Edward and Blankie met on the first day of Edward.” The treacly text goes on to describe how they’ve been inseparable ever since, playing, napping and cuddling together. Blankie mops up Edward’s tears when he’s sad, and Edward gives him a bath in the washing machine after an unfortunate encounter with an orange Popsicle. When Edward informs the tumbling blanket that he misses it, his mother remarks that it’s good practice for when he goes to school. Edward is aghast. Mama explains that “[s]chool is a GREAT place to make new friends and try new things,” telling Edward that like Blankie, she will be sad when he goes off to school but happy for him too. Edward and Mama brainstorm ways Blankie can keep busy, and thus steeled, Edward and Blankie turn in. Richmond depicts Edward as an animate teddy bear and Blankie as a blue fabric rectangle of inconsistent size and softness. Amateurish-looking rather than childlike, the watercolor illustrations are so splotchy and ill-defined that it’s often hard to distinguish Blankie from, say, Edward’s sheets or clothing.
Though its heart is in the right place, this tale doesn’t come close to the artistry of Kevin Henkes’ Owen (1993), still the gold standard. (Picture book. 3-5)