Debut author Jackson’s ode to stuffed animals, featuring images by veteran illustrator Paradero (Sophia’s Red Hat, 2015, etc.), will ring familiar to adults who care for toddlers.
The formerly pink Bun Bun may look gray and worn out, but she’s only 4 years old. The stuffed animal spent her early days with her girl, Reagan, in her crib, but as soon as the youngster was on her feet, Bun Bun began exploring the world with her. Toddler life was hard on the little bunny, who soon discovered the unpleasantness of the washing machine, but she also found it exciting to be Reagan’s best friend. Paradero depicts Bun Bun and Reagan in matching outfits several times over the course of the story, including tea party princess dresses, tutus and leotards for ballet class, and matching pajamas. When Reagan enters preschool, she refuses to leave Bun Bun behind, so instead of getting a little alone time “on the lounge chair by the pool,” Bun Bun experiences the joys (and messes) of arts and crafts. The family puppy’s arrival brings new trouble, but the worst adventure of all is when Bun Bun gets lost out the window of the family car. As the poor bunny lays in the road, she takes a moment to miss her chaotic life before a kind police officer rescues her and returns her to Reagan. Although Bun Bun’s voice may sound a bit cynical and put-upon for young readers to fully appreciate, they’ll recognize her love for Reagan throughout, which will remind them of their love for their own “stuffies.” The text length and print size make this story best for pre-kindergarten lap readers, who will also be the right age to appreciate Bun Bun’s adventures. Paradero’s realistic illustrations are strongest when Bun Bun is featured prominently; the light-skinned, fair-haired Reagan shows flair and attitude in her outfits, and her friends show some slight ethnic diversity.
A sweet children’s tale of the misadventures of a beloved toy with a comforting, happy ending.